I wrote this in the spring of 1997 for my Chinese poetry in translation class at UMCP. Our assignment was to write a poem in the style of Tu Fu, considered one of the most brilliant poets of the Middle Kingdom. He was a wee bit broody and liked to write in non-rhyming couplets.
Going to Visit a Recluse and Not Finding Him In
(A Humble Tribute to Tu Fu)
Surprised to find your door ajar, I enter cautiously.
Alarmed to see your home empty, I explore anxiously.
Survey a private room that welcomes no one;
focus on an open letter that banishes only one.
You lived a hundred years in solitude, never forgiving.
I traveled a thousand li in anguish, always regretting.
Green mountains embrace a lonely, bitter man.
Blue ocean swallows a desperate, grieving friend.