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A song of an old cypress – Du Fu

Beside the Temple of the Great Premier stands an ancient cypress
With a trunk of green bronze and a root of stone.
The girth of its white bark would be the reach of forty men
And its tip of kingfish-blue is two thousand feet in heaven.
Dating from the days of a great ruler’s great statesman,
Their very tree is loved now and honoured by the people.
Clouds come to it from far away, from the Wu cliffs,
And the cold moon glistens on its peak of snow.
…East of the Silk Pavilion yesterday I found
The ancient ruler and wise statesman both worshipped in one temple,
Whose tree, with curious branches, ages the whole landscape
In spite of the fresh colours of the windows and the doors.
And so firm is the deep root, so established underground,
That its lone lofty boughs can dare the weight of winds,
Its only protection the Heavenly Power,
Its only endurance the art of its Creator.
Though oxen sway ten thousand heads, they cannot move a mountain.
…When beams are required to restore a great house,
Though a tree writes no memorial, yet people understand
That not unless they fell it can use be made of it….
Its bitter heart may be tenanted now by black and white ants,
But its odorous leaves were once the nest of phoenixes and pheasants.
…Let wise and hopeful men harbour no complaint.
The greater the timber, the tougher it is to use.


古柏行

孔明庙前有老柏, 柯如青铜根如石;
双皮溜雨四十围, 黛色参天二千尺。
君臣已与时际会, 树木犹为人爱惜。
云来气接巫峡长, 月出寒通雪山白。
忆昨路绕锦亭东, 先主武侯同閟宫。
崔嵬枝干郊原古, 窈窕丹青户牖空。
落落盘踞虽得地, 冥冥孤高多烈风。
扶持自是神明力, 正直元因造化功。
大厦如倾要梁栋, 万牛回首丘山重。
不露文章世已惊, 未辞剪伐谁能送?
苦心岂免容蝼蚁? 香叶终经宿鸾凤。
志士幽人莫怨嗟, 古来材大难为用。

2016-06-22

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