Du Fu in Exile

A relict cicada sings without answer;
My reading-lamp evokes no kindred reflections in local eyes.
At the corner of the world I wait for no thing.
Was my youthful zeal for knowledge love of life, or fortune?
Learning unapplied to power:
The arrow that does not find its mark flies where?
Now, my erudition wells up unbidden—I am haunted by the need
      to name each edge and change for no reason.
Here in Chu, a solitary station.
I hear that I am referred to as Guardian of the Flame No One
Each day I step measuredly, sleep methodically
      one unsought and unseeking Care.

Copyright © 1980, 1995 by David Newkirk (david.newkirk@gmail.com). All rights reserved.