Poems of Bai Juyi
Blossoms Aren't Blooming
Blossoms aren't blooming. Mists are still thin.
Night, barely fallen. Last light lingers on.
Night comes like a dream that is always the same.
Day leaves like morning clouds with nowhere to go.
The first line, or maybe two lines in the original, is: "Flowers not flowers. Mist not mist." It's kind of a famous poem. But we don't know when Bai Juyi wrote it. In his collected works, he filed it in the back under "Miscellaneous." These are the poems he was least proud of and the ones the world liked the best. Bai thought that poetry should be politically meaningful, should change the world. After that, he thought they should be meditative or sorrowful. But he kept them all. Or at least 2800 of them. I'm glad he kept this one.