Three Kingdoms Poetry: Cao Zhi

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Three Kingdoms Era Poetry by Cao Zhi

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Passage of Sighs

Author: Cao Zhi (AD 229)
Translated by:

Alas! This rolling tumbleweed
Living alone in this world – Oh why? Oh why?
Long have I left my roots and gone
Resting never, day nor night
From east to west, from south to north.
A whirlwind rises, blowing me
into the clouds, where I thought
was the ends of Heaven
But all of a sudden –
I fall
deep into an abyss.
I am carried out by a rapid gust.
If only it were to take me back to the fields!
Southwards I am bound, but it takes me north;
Supposing it blows to the east, it turns to the west.
Straying, drifting, with nothing to rely on –
“Surely I expire,” I say, but my life goes on
To wander through the hills and plains
Turning, tumbling, with no place to stay –
Who would understand my agony, I pray?
May I be grass growing in a forest
To burn when autumn flames rage fiercest!
Destroyed by fire – know I naught of the pain?
I’d rather that, but with my roots remain.

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