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SONG OF A THATCHED HUT DAMAGED BY THE WIND
by Du Fu (712 - 770, Tang Dynasty)
English translation: Zhi Yue

The high winds of the August autumn roar angrily,
sweeping away three levels of thatches from my rooftop.

Away they fly, scattering across the river,
The higher ones are caught and suspended upon the treetops;

While the lower ones float and then sink
into the crevices of the embankment.

A group of children from the Southern Village
take advantage of my old and feeble age,
turning into plundering thieves before my eyes;
Unabashedly seizing the thatches,
they scurry into the bamboo forest.

I yell at them hoarsely, but all was in vain,
returning home by hobbling on my cane, sighing to myself.

Suddenly, the winds stop but the clouds darkened,
the autumn sky silently turning into a gloomy twilight.

My quilt has been like cold iron for many years,
its lining had been trampled by spoilt children during sleep.

The ceiling over my bedside leaks everywhere,
without a dry spot in sight,
The raindrops keep falling like non-stop sesame.

Ever since the political disturbance,
seldom have I been able to sleep,
How now will I ever pass this long damp night?

How I wish there were thousand of homes to give shelter and bring happiness to those in the cold;
When the winds and the rain stop,
they will be unmovable as mountains!

Alas! When I see these lofty houses before me,
I will feel contented with my lonely damaged hut
that has made me freeze to death.

── from Quan Tang Shi (Complete Collection of Tang Poems)