Dù Fǔ / 杜 甫
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Traduzione inglese di W. J. B. Fletcher da Black Cat ‎Poems.‎
The wagons rumble and roll,
The horses whinny and neigh,
The conscripts each have bows and arrows at their waists.
Their parents, wives and children run to see them off,
So much dust's stirred up, it hides the Xianyang bridge.
They pull clothes, stamp their feet and, weeping, bar the way,
The weeping voices rise straight up and strike the clouds.
A passer-by at the roadside asks a conscript why,
The conscript answers only that drafting happens often.
‎"At fifteen, many were sent north to guard the river,
Even at forty, they had to till fields in the west.
When we went away, the elders bound our heads,
Returning with heads white, we're sent back off to the frontier.
At the border posts, shed blood becomes a sea,
The martial emperor's dream of expansion has no end.
Have you not seen the two hundred districts east of the mountains,
Where thorns and brambles grow in countless villages and hamlets?
Although there are strong women to grasp the hoe and the plough,
They grow some crops, but there's no order in the fields.
What's more, we soldiers of Qin withstand the bitterest fighting,
We're always driven onwards just like dogs and chickens.
Although an elder can ask me this,
How can a soldier dare to complain?
Even in this winter time,
Soldiers from west of the pass keep moving.
The magistrate is eager for taxes,
But how can we afford to pay?
We know now having boys is bad,
While having girls is for the best;
Our girls can still be married to the neighbours,
Our sons are merely buried amid the grass.
Have you not seen on the border of Qinghai,
The ancient bleached bones no man's gathered in?
The new ghosts are angered by injustice, the old ghosts weep,
Moistening rain falls from dark heaven on the voices' screeching."‎
Chariots rumble and roll: horses whinny and neigh.
footmen at their girdle bows and arrows display.
Fathers, mothers, wives, and children by them go--
‎'Tis not the choking dust alone that strangles what they say!
Their clothes they clutch; their feet they stamp; their crush blocks up the way.
The sounds of weeping mount above the clouds that gloom the day.‎
‎ ‎
The passers-by inquire of them, "But whither do you go?"
They only say: "We're mustering--do not disturb us so."
These fifteen years and upwards, the Northern Pass defend;
And still at forty years of age their service does not end.
All young they left their villages--just registered were they--
The war they quitted sees again the same men worn and gray.
And all along the boundary their blood has made a sea.
But never till the World is his, will Wu Huang happy be!‎
‎ ‎
Have you not heard--in Shantung there two hundred districts lie.
All overgrown with briar and weed and wasted utterly?
The stouter women swing and hoe and guide the stubborn plough,
The fields have lost their boundaries--the corn grows wildly now.
And routed bands with hunger grim come down in disarray
To rob and rend and outrage them, and treat them as a prey.‎
‎ ‎
Although the leaders question them, the soldiers' plaints resound.
And winter has not stopped the war upon the western bound.
And war needs funds; the Magistrates for taxes press each day.
The land tax and the duties--Ah! how shall these be found?‎
‎ ‎
In times like this stout sons to bear is sorrow and dismay.
Far better girls--to marry, to a home not far away.
But sons!--are buried in the grass!--yon Tsaidam's waste survey!
The bones of those who fell before are bleaching on the plain.
Their spirits weep our ghosts to hear lamenting all their pain.
Beneath the gloomy sky there runs a wailing in the rain.‎

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