Visitors, Tu Fu
In the United States, the return to school marks the end of summer. But for much of the rest of the world, August is a time of withdrawal from the city. This poem by Tu Fu celebrates the bucolic retreat—here for reasons of health. Fresh air, quiet, detached from the crowds—life in the house by the river alleviates the poet’s asthma. But the restoration is not physical only. He is brighter and more rested. But the poem is called “Visitors” and it is not the retreat that we are to dwell on, but the visit. The garden is ripe; fresh vegetables are an offering of friendship. Whether you are returning to the post-summer bustle or enjoying a continued rest from it all, are your visitors an interruption? What small gift do you have to offer them in friendly welcome?
Todd Breyfogle, Denver, Colorado