William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD

A Poem about War by 9th Century Chinese Poet, Du Fu

Spring Hope, a poem by 9th Century poet, Du Fu

When the Canadian Army was training me by giving me Chinese Language skills, I had an opportunity to translate some beautiful Ancient Chinese Poetry.

The attached War Veteran/Survivor Poem was written by the famous Tang Dynasty Poet “Du Fu” who is, along with and on par with “Li Bai”, in my humble opinion, one of the most respected poets in Ancient Chinese History.

This poem is written in the Spring following the 3 month war (The An Lu Rebellion). The war took place in the 9th Century. It was aptly named “Spring Hope”. I have had a life long love of poetry, and I am pleased and proud to present this, a sample, of a revered ancient Chinese Poet’s work, to the International War Veterans Poetry Archives (IWVPA).

Soldiering hasn’t changed much in the physical part of it. The soldiers in the watch towers on the great wall kept the beacon fires burning for three months (the length of the war). Today’s servicemen and women do the same job only they watch radar and sonar screens, and yes, for those serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, a letter from home and family is still worth 10,000 gold.

Gathering flocks of birds in the spring still remind soldiers in far off places about family get-togethers and dew drops on flower petals can remind one of tear drops. I have seen villages where the hedges are unkempt and grass has grown up amongst the flagstone walks. Nothing Changes – man’s inhumanity to man continues to flourish and is alive and well in the modern world.

Poetry tells us about historical facts. Poetry tells us about ourselves, as soldiers, as humans and as spiritual beings.