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Han Yu: Return to Peng City

Retun to Peng City

归 彭 城
天 下 兵 又 动
太 平 意 何 时。
訐 谟 者 谁 子?
无 乃 失 所 宜。
前 年 关 中 早
闾 井 多 死 饥。
去 岁 东 郡 水
生 民 为 流 尸。
上 天 不 虚 应
祸 福 名 有 随。
我 欲 进 短 策
无 由 至 彤 墀。
刳 肝 以 为 纸
沥 血 以 书 辞。
上 言 陈 尧 舜
下 言 引 龙 夔。
言 词 多 感 激
文 字 少 葳 蕤。
一 读 已 自 怿
再 寻 良 自 疑。
食 芹 虽 云 美
献 御 固 已 痴。
缄 封 在 骨 髓
耿 耿 空 自 奇。
昨 者 到 京 城
屡 陪 高 车 驰。
周 行 多 俊 异
议 论 无 瑕 疵。
见 待 颇 异 礼
未 能 去 毛 皮。
到 口 不 敢 吐
徐 徐 俟 其 巇。


Gui Peng Cheng

Tian xia bing you dong
Tai ping yi he shi.
Jie mo zhe shei zi?
Wu nai shi suo yi.

Qian nian guan zhong zao
Lu jing duo si ji.
Qu sui dong jun shui
Sheng min wei liu shi.

Shang tian bu xu ying
Huo fu ming you sui.
Wo yu jin duan ce
Wu you zhi tong chi.

Ku gan yi wei zhi
Li xue yi shu ci.
Shang yan chen yao shun
Xia yan yin long kui.

Yan shi duo gan ji
Wen zi shao wei rui.
Yi du yi zi yi
Zai xun liang zi yi.

Shi qin sui yun mei
Xian yu gu yi chi.
Jian feng zai gu sui
Geng geng kong zi qi.

Zuo zhe dao jing cheng
Lu pei gao che chi.
Zhou de duo jun yi
Yi lun wu xia ci.

Jiang dai po yi li
Wei neng qu mao pi.
Dao kou bu gan tu
Xu xu si qi xi.


Return to Peng City

Down here on earth the army and its weapons in motion
When can we have this precious time of peace and tranquility.
Who can boast of their strategies and plans?
And go to a suitable place without using arrows.

Year before last still in the middle of a drought
In every city block many are dying of starvation.
Last year the eastern prefecture rivers overflow
People’s lives turned into floating corpses.

Heavenly forces not listening to our pleas
Reason for disasters following our blessings.
I want to advance my brief plans
Without access to the palace red steps.

Hollow my liver to put on paper
Drops of blood can write the characters.
Superior words from Emperors Yao and Shun should be put on display
Later these words will attract virtuous and competent people,
like Long and Kui.

Editing my own poems, should have put in more words of gratitude
Too few of my characters not literary or rich enough.
Read what I wrote, it seems naturally strange
Again reread, good people would naturally doubt my ideas.

Offering advice, like celery, can be either delicious or poisonous
I am already a bit crazy for offering my celery to the rich and powerful.
Like my bone marrow, keep these thoughts inside a sealed envelope
But hiding my devotion and talent feels naturally strange.

Yesterday people arrived in the capital city
Frequently accompany and follow the fast and fancy carriages.
Many of the beautiful people not of virtue
Their diction and grammar spoken without a flaw.

While awaiting introductions, they follow every protocol
Yet one is not able to see below their skin’s surface.
Ready to open my mouth, but then my courage vanishes
Slowly and gently wait for a chance to enter a dangerous path.



Peng City: Modern day city of Xuzhou, in Jiangsu Province.

Emperors Yao and Shun:  They are regarded as being on the highest level of sage-rulers. Yao (2356-2256 BC), one of the Five Emperors who was succeeded by Shun (2333-2184 BC).

People like Long and KuiLong is a majestic mythological beast who dwells in rivers, lakes and ocean. Originally a rain deity. Kui  is the deity that invented the arts of music and dancing.

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