The poor poet


To Pi Ssu Yao

We have talent. People call us
The leading poets of our day.
Too bad, our homes are humble,
Our recognition trivial.
Hungry, ill-clothed, servants treat
Us with contempt. In the prime
Of life, our faces are wrinkled.
Who cares about either of us,
or our troubles? We are our own
Audience. We appreciate
Each other’s literary
Merits. Our poems will be handed
Down along with great dead poets’.
We can console each other.
At least we shall have descendants.

Tu Fu 713-770. tr Kenneth Rexroth

15 thoughts on “The poor poet

        1. TV rights, I suppose. It all turns into a profit-making machine. (I’ve spent the weekend reading Marx with my philosophy mates so I’m feeling even more bolshie than usual).

  1. Love the world-weary humour. And the cynicism. And. of course, even without fame one can (in the words of the song) “live forever” if one (yes, it usually takes two, as in this poem) has offspring, and they have offspring, and so on ad infinitum.

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