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Official at Stone Moat Village

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Dusk stay at stone moat village
Be official night capture people
Old man over wall escape
Old woman out door look
Official shout with what anger
Woman cry with what grief
Hear woman forward send words
Three sons Ye city defend
One son send letter to
Two sons newly battle dead
Survive one for now sneak life
Dead ones great end finished
House in become no person
Only be breast on grandson
Have grandson mother not go
come and go without whole skirt
Old woman strength though decline
Ask follow officer night return
Urgent should Heyang work
Like produce prepare morning meal
Night long speech sound exhaust
Seem hear sob whimpering
Sky bright up before road
Alone with old man part


At dusk, I stopped to rest at Stone Moat village,
An officer came that night to capture men.
The old man escaped by climbing over the wall,
The old wife went to look outside the door.
How angrily the officer now shouted,
How bitterly the wife did weep out loud!
I heard the words the wife was sending forth:
"Three sons of mine were sent to defend Yecheng.
From one of my sons, a letter has arrived,
The other two have recently died in battle.
The one who survived has kept alive for now,
The dead ones though have met their final end.
Inside this house, there are no people left,
There's just a grandson suckling on the breast.
The grandson's mother also cannot go,
She goes about without a skirt intact.
Although I'm an old woman with failing strength,
I ask you to take me with you tonight.
If you should need workers at Heyang,
I can prepare the morning meal for you.
"
Her voice then died away into the night,
I seemed to hear her sob and whimper still.
At dawn, before I set upon the road,
It's only from the old man that I part.

Poem by Du Fu
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