Wang Anshi: North of the Yellow River ~ 《河北民》 王安石 with English Translations

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《河北民》 王安石


North of the Yellow River
Wang Anshi

Hard the lot of the people who live north of the river
On the borders of the Khitans and the Tanguts;
Each household brings up its children to farm and weave
But officials present the fruits to the barbarians.
In this year of great drought a thousand li lie waste,
Yet the magistrates press conscripts to work on the river;
Leading their old and young by the hand they flee south
Where the harvest was good—but the people there too have no food.
Grief afflicts heaven and earth, makes dark the day,
Even passersby turn pale.
If only you could have lived in the reign of Zhenguan
When grain cost but a few cash a peck and there was no war!

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