Bai Juyi – Separation
Posted by Lee Rowan under history
"..through rain and snow you stand alone by the water's edge..."
Seeing Poems Written by Yuan at the Blue Bridge Inn
On your return last spring
you stayed in the Blue Bridge Inn;
wen the wind sweeps down
from the Qinling Mountains, I head
the other way; each time I
come to an inn I dismount first
eagerly looing on the walls to see
If you have hung any poems there.
In Rewi Alley’s book, “Bai Juyi-200 Collected Poems,” there’s this intriguing note:
“Durng the early part of his official career, Bai made close friends with Yuan Zhen, young scholar and poet also in his twenties… the two poets’ relationship was most intimate. Their friendship was famous in literary history, and it was said taht whenever the two went out riding together, crowds gathered to watch them pass…”
and yet.. many of their poems vanished, and
“whereas it had been the custom for outstanding poets to be granted a posthumous title, this hoour was denied Bai by the emperor.”
Alley believes this was because the poet wrote verses criticizing the government, and that might be true. But I wonder.
Sending Summer Clothes to Weizhi(one of Yuan’s courtesy names)
Upper garment white in colour
woven fine as mist
cotton cloth for trousers
thin as a cloud; don’t think that
these are too light; please
wear them, for I fear you
will suffer from the heat at Tongzhou.
The two poets planned to live together as Taoist recluses after they retired. Yuan Zhen died before this could happen. Juyi wrote dirges and songs for the funeral.
Night deep–the memorial draft finished;
Mist and moon intense piercing cold.
About to lie down, I warm the last remnant of the wine;
we face before the lamp and drink.
Drawing up the gren silk coverlets,
Placing our pillows side by side;
Like spending more than a hundred nights,
To sleep together with you here.