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Qiang Village (3)

Flock chickens now disorder call
Guests arrive chicken fight
Drive chickens on tree
Begin listen knock wicker tree
Elders four five people
Ask me long far travel
Hand in each have carry
Pour jug cloudy combine clear
Bitter decline wine taste thin
Millet field no person farm
Soldier transform already no rest
Children furthest east campaigning
Ask for elders sing
Difficult ashamed deep feeling
Song finish face heaven sigh
Everyone present cry freely

The flock of chickens starts to call wildly,
As guests arrive, the chickens begin to fight.
I drive the chickens up into the tree,
And now I hear the knock on the wicker gate.
Four or five elders from the village,
Ask how long and far I have been travelling.
Each of them brings something in his hands,
We pour the clear and thick wine in together.
They apologise because it tastes so thin,
There's no-one left to tend the millet fields.
Conscription still continues without end,
The children are campaigning in the east.
I ask if I can sing a song for the elders,
The times so hard, I'm ashamed by these deep feelings.
I finish the song, look to heaven and sigh,
Everyone around is freely weeping.

Poem by Du Fu
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