Bing Che Xing

“Ballad of the Army Carts” - from Requiem for Peace

Larry Nickel
 

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Che lin lin ma xiao xiao

Xing ren gong jian ge zai yao

Ye niang qi zi zou xiang song

Chen ai bu jian xian yang quao

Qian yi dun zu lan dao ku

Ku sheng zhi shang gan yun xiao

Bian ting liu xue chang hai shui

Wu huang kai bian yi wei yi

Jun bu jian Han jia shan dong er bai zhou

Qian cun wan luo sheng jing qi

Zong you jian fu ba chu li

He sheng long mu wu dong xi

Kuang fu Qin bing nai ku zhan

Bei qu bu yi quan yu ji

Xin zhi sheng nan e

Fan shi sheng nu hao

Sheng nü you de jia bi lin

Sheng nan mai mo sui bai cao

Jun bu jian qing hai tou

Gu lai bai gu wu ren shou

 Xin gui fan yuan jiu gui ku

Tian yin yu shi sheng jiu jiu


Dao Fu – (circa 12 AD)


translation


Wagons rattling and horses neighing and snorting,
conscripts marching, each with bow & arrows at his hip,
fathers and mothers, wives & children, running to see them off,
so much dust kicked up you can't see Xian-yang Bridge!
And the families pulling at their clothes, stamping feet in anger, blocking the way and weeping,
the sound of their wailing rises straight up to assault heaven.
The frontier posts run with blood enough to fill an ocean,
and the war-loving Emperor's dreams of conquest have still not ended.
Hasn't he heard that in Han, east of the mountains,
there are two hundred prefectures, thousands and thousands of villages, growing nothing but thorns?
And even where there is a sturdy wife to handle hoe and plough,
the poor crops grow raggedly in haphazard fields.
It's even worse for the men of Qin; they are such good fighters
they're driven from battle to battle like dogs or chickens.
Truly, it is an evil thing to bear a son these days,
it is much better to have daughters;
at least you can marry a daughter to the neighbor,
but a son is born only to die, his body lost in the wild grass.
Has my lord seen the shores of the Kokonor?
The white bones lie there in drifts, uncollected.
New ghosts complain and old ghosts weep,
under the lowering sky their voices cry out in the rain.







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