How Many Springs? (translation)

I found another Tang dynasty poem that may be suitable as a second project for my Chinese Calligraphy students.  The first one encouraged us to climb higher to see further (i.e. work harder to achieve more), this one says, forget that; let’s just have fun while there’s time.

Lasting Pleasures 漫興 by Dufu 杜甫

二月已破三月來 February’s spent and March is here

漸老逢春能幾回 How many returns of spring will we see?

莫思身外無窮事 Think no more of endless other things

且盡生前有限杯 Let us empty what’s left of these drinks!

Translated by Mary Tang


(second/ month/ already /broken/ third /month /comes)

(gradually/ old /meet/ spring /can /how/ many /times)

(don’t /think /body /outside/ no/ end/ things/matter)

(for now/ finish /life/ front/ have/ limit/ cups)

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6 Responses to How Many Springs? (translation)

  1. Jan Schaper says:

    Mary, the contrasting poems your referenced remind me that there are many ways to experience life . . . for everything there is a season. Thank you for both the word for word translation and the translation in phrase form.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sunshine Jansen says:

    I wholeheartedly endorse this sentiment! Also, you just gave me major cred with a Chinese coworker when I quoted it today, so thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. taphian says:

    great poem and so true, Mary

    Liked by 1 person

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