Poems of Bai Juyi
What Spring Paints on the Lake
Down to the lake, spring comes like an artist.
Paints the hills which circle round onto flat-spread water.
On those hills, arranges pines, a thousand rows of jade.
And on each ripple of the lake, dots a pearl of moon.
Upon green carpets round the lake, spring draws out early rice.
And these fine blue silk skirts it binds with young bulrushes.
I could not bring myself to leave Hangzhou without
At least one more half-verse of praise for these blue waters.
It is 824 and Bai Juyi is recalled from Hangzhou to Chang'an. He is to be Chief Attendant to the Crown Prince. But the new emperor is too young to have a son. Bai Juyi will parley this lack into an easy, do-nothing job in Luoyang, which is still considered the Eastern Capital. It is also a kind of politically neutral ground where Bai can associate with whoever he wishes and still keep a low profile.