Paul Rouzer :: Perhaps the most famous poem that he wrote during this time period of imprisonment in the capital was his so-called, "View in Springtime," a poem that is written in the regulated verse form. That is, it is eight lines long, composed of four couplets. And with the second and the third couplets, written in a parallel structure.
"View in Springtime," by Du Fu
The country is smashed, hills and rivers remain.
The city turns to Spring, plants and trees grow deep.
Moved by the moment, flowers splash tears.
Resentful of parting, birds startle the heart.
Beacon fires have lasted for three months now.
Letters from home are worth 10,000 in gold.
I've scratched my white hairs ever scarcer,
until none will be left to hold hairpins to head.
[Translation by Paul Rouzer]
Paul Rouzer: In the opening couplet, Du Fu describes how the cycles of nature continue. He is writing in springtime, so, as one would expect in any springtime season, the leaves come back to the trees, the flowers bloom, the grasses grow tall.
Normally in Chinese poetry, this is an image of springtime renewal, but for Du Fu, it is a bitterly ironic image, because as spring renews itself, the Tang empire is not renewing itself. And the great capital of the Tang empire is in ruins.