Poems of Bai Juyi
Yuan Jixu's House by the Creek
Creek's mist silent, trees thick and dense.
Water by threshold, mountains by windows, this house.
Last dry leaves on branches, lingering red.
Fragrance of autumn, white water-blossoms.
Voice comes to my pillow, thousand-year crane.
Shadows on wine cups of five ancient peaks.
Embarassed by host's kind attentions, lingering here.
Smoke of broiling fish, heavy fragrance of wine.
Here we find Bai Juyi, in 816, suffering through his Sichuan exile. He has his own little cottage that he built in the hills by a waterfall. But his friend Yuan Eighteen has a cottage too, by a creek that runs out of the mountains. He and Bai are obviously bearing up well under a regimen of fishing by day and wine-stoked fish-broils by night. Back down in Jiangzhou, his wife is no doubt busy feeding Bai's jobless brothers, wives, and children. She's not working too hard. They have servants. And even a singing girl, who perhaps plays for them all after dinner. I should be so lucky to be banished in this way.