Howling madly
a big September storm

took off three layers
of our thatched roof

spreading them on the river
and all along the banks

even high up and hanging
among the branches of the trees

along the ground as well
in all the pools and hollows

and then the boys from South Village
taking advantage of my weak old age

helped themselves to thatch
right in front of me

carrying off armfuls
into the bamboo grove

ignoring my shouts
until my voice was hoarse ...

I trudge back home, sighing
leaning on my stick

the wind dies down
the clouds are still quite black

they seem to reinforce
the long autumn night

my threadbare quilt
is cold as iron now

my little son sleeping restlessly
has kicked it full of holes

right above my bed
the roof is leaking, there's no dry spot

disrupted sleep again, it's been this way
ever since the Rebellion

huddled up, trying to get through
this cold, soaked night

I dream of a great big house
with maybe a million rooms

shelter for all poor scholars
to make them smile

even in huge rainstorms
unshakable mountain of a house

if such a house sprang up
right before my eyes

my hut could smash and I could freeze to death—
I'd still die happy.