A tree growing horizontally across the picture, farmhouse in the background.


Du Fu quotation.

Isn’t it fascinating that a poem written on the other side of the world over twelve hundred years ago should be able to touch us? Naturally a great part is played by the translator (here himself a poet) who acts as conduit. But it lends evidence of the way humans share so much, and are so alike psychologically. Under cultural and linguistic disparities there is a unity of feeling, of apprehension, and at base, of consciousness.


This translation is by Sam Hamill in The Poetry of Zen (2007) published by Shambhala. My re-arrangement of the presentation, with apologies to him, is done hopefully to indicate the formal manner in which the words were originally arranged. Many regard Du Fu (sometimes Tu Fu) as among the handful of the world’s greatest poets. His use of symbols such as the gulls and the dew, point to the huge influence he had on the Edo Poets (17th to 19th centuries) of Japan, most notably in the Haikus of Basho and Issa. The picture was taken near Craigieburn by Moffat on a bright early morning in autumn.


Saturday 19th October 2019

Murphy on duty

Details of the
Greeting Card

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