Poems of Bai Juyi
To Make a Challenge Poem More Difficult, I Looked at an Old Poem by Lu Zimeng But That Only Made Me Feel Bad About the State of Poetry Today, So I Rolled His Poem Back Up.
Once, I heard Yuan Zhen recite your poems
And was sorry that I had not met them earlier.
Today, I meet you again in an old scroll.
Inside, in many ways, your gifts are exquisite.
Regarding you, I hide my tears, find it hard to speak.
I have a special sadness in my work that no one knows.
I've heard the trees in Xianyang on your grave
Are white poplars with especially wide-spread branches.
It is 841. Bai is now seventy by Chinese counting (nine months in the womb counts as year one) and he is forced to retire. On half pay. His half pay is large enough for him to live out his last five years in comfort. He has a stroke but it only makes him limp. His eyes are weak but he can still read. He and his wife are still married and, as far as anyone can tell from his poems and prefaces, still happy. His nickname, in the end, was Letian -- happy-go-lucky.