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Parting from Abbot Zan

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Hundred river daily east flow
Traveller go again not rest
My life bitter float drift
What time have end limit
Zan abbot Buddhism old
Banish come capital
Still by earth dust bother
Fairly show emaciated appearance
Willow twig morning in hand
Bean fruit rain thereafter ripe
This body like float cloud
What can boundary south north
Different county meet old friend
New happiness write feelings
Heaven long pass fortress cold
Year end hunger freeze compel
Plains wind blow travel clothes
About to part direction sunset dark
Horse neigh think old stable
Return bird exhaust fold wings
Old times gather part place
Short time grow thorns jujube
Mutual look together decline years
Leave stay each strive


The hundred rivers flow east every day,
The traveller keeps on moving, without rest.
My life is one of bitterness and drift,
What time will they finally reach their end?
Abbot Zan, learned in Buddhist teaching,
Banished from the capital to here.
Still we're bothered by these earthly cares,
Reflected in our lean and haggard faces.
We stood one morning with willow twigs in hand;
The beans sprouted; then rain; then they ripened again.
The body floats along just like a cloud,
What limit can there be, to south or north?
I meet my old friend in a foreign region,
Newly happy, I write what's in my breast.
The sky is long, the fortified pass is cold,
At the year's end, hunger and chill pursue me.
The desert wind blows my travelling clothes,
I'm ready to leave and journey into the sunset.
The horse neighs, remembering its old stable,
Returning birds have all now folded their wings.
The places where we used to meet and part,
Thorns and brambles have quickly covered over.
We look at each other, both in years of decline;
Leaving or staying, we each must do our best.

Poem by Du Fu
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