My Cottage Unroofed By Autumn Gales
In the eighth moon the autumn gales furiously howl;
They roll up three layers of straw from my thatched bower.
The straw flies across the river and spreads in shower,
Some hanging knotted on the tops of trees that tower,
Some swirling down and sinking into water foul.
Urchins from southern village know I’m old and weak,
They rob me to my face without a blush on the cheek,
And holding armfuls of straw, into bamboos they sneak.
In vain I call them till my lips are parched and dry;
Again alone, I lean on my cane and sigh.
Shortly the gale subsides and clouds turn dark as ink;
The autumn skies are shrouded and in darkness sink.
My cotton quilt is cold, for years it has been worn;
My restless children kick in sleep and it is torn.
The roof leaks o’er beds, leaving no corner dry;
Without cease the rain falls thick and fast from the sky.
After the troubled times troubled has been my sleep.
Wet through, how can I pass the night so long, so deep!
Could I get mansions covering ten thousand miles,
I’d house all scholars poor and make them beam with smiles.
In wind and rain these mansions would stand like mountains high.
Alas! Should these houses appear before my eye,
Frozen in my unroofed cot, content I’d die.