Poems of Bai Juyi
Drunkenly Remembering Yuan Zhen with Li Jian
Blossom time and we're drinking to forget spring cares.
I break off a sprig of flower for a drinking token.
Suddenly I remember an old friend far, far away
And that I'm supposed to travel out to Liangzhou today.
It is 809. Bai Juyi and his poet friend, Li Jian, are in Chang'an. Yuan Zhen has just gotten himself banished to Hubei. Not much of a poem, really. One imagines Bai Juyi with an ink bottle hanging from his neck, paper up his sleeve, and writing brush in his hair. At the least excuse, he says, "Wait, wait," hauls out his poetry equipment and spins out a poem. But this isn't exactly how he worked. He gave everyone the impression that his poetry was spontaneous. But after his death, one of the people entrusted with his papers found evidence that Bai Juyi reworked and reworked his poems. Of course, he did.