Poems of Bai Juyi
Li Bai's Grave
Grassy stone by river's bank is Li Bai's grave.
All around this boundless field, grass meets the sky.
Sad, in this deserted mound, this poor pool of bones
Once could shake both Heaven and Earth with words.
But poets have many harsh fates to live.
Among us, none harsher than yours.
Little white flowers and rushes have their beauty.
But the elegance of the Book of Songs is silent.
Bai Juyi wrote this in 799, the year he took the Provincial Examination. One wonders if he actually visited Li Bai's grave or if he is romanticizing here. I suppose he would romanticize in either case, being what he is. But not in his wildest dreams does he imagine, as he writes this, that he and Li Bai will be peers.