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from the September 2011 issue

Du Fu

Du Fu says of himself that he was a child prodigy, that he was writing poetry when he was seven or eight years old. When he’s over forty, he will be a great poet. What he can think about, he can write about.

A child asks if something is important enough to think about.
Is this an excuse to get out of doing something else?
The other children are already at work.
Reading takes time, just like looking around.
Every word Du Fu uses, he read somewhere.
He remembers the meaning of words the way he knows what he’s writing about.
The words themselves as if they are the words that belong to what he’s writing about.
In the order that someone would say them out loud
if they were given all the words of the poem in one go.

Translation of "Du Fu." © Nachoem Wijnberg. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2011 by David Colmer. All rights reserved.

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