A Summer Outing
by Du Fu
How nice to board the barge as the sun meets the horizon
the breeze picks up the water ripples
we sail past groves of thick bamboo
and anchor in the cool of water lilies
the young men mix some icy drinks
the girls are slicing lotus roots
but the clouds right overhead grow black
rain makes me rush my poem.
The shower wets the benches we were sitting on
the wind blows hard and rocks the boat
the southern girls' red skirts drenched
the northern beauties seem to have ruined their makeup
the mooring line saws and cuts the willow
the barge's curtains are soaked from breaking waves
our going home will be wet and chilly
as if we were having autumn right in the heart of summer.
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Excerpt from DU FU: A LIFE IN POETRY. Translation copyright © 2008 by David P. Young. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.