Poems of Xue Tao
Dew washes down on their spontaneous operetta
as the wind blows leaves from all the trees.
Sounding like an immense family gathering,
each remains upon its branch alone.
This poem, assuming these one-character titles indicate spontaneous social poetry, makes one think that Xue Tao creates them on the spot and records them later. They are so uneven. Not to say they are ever bad. But they go from "not bad" to "quite good." She may, at some time, have sifted her poetry into a collection she thought worth preserving. Many poets did. So these may be from her choice of what was best.
In judging her poems, I am by no means judging on the merits of regulated verse. That would be a full-time job and an exercise in delusion. So much of that kind of analysis hangs upon convincing oneself that we actually know the tones of older dynasties' speech. We know that they more resemble Cantonese than anything else. And no one can agree on the number of tones in Cantonese. Opinions vary between six and nine. Only autocratic regimes and dogmatic scholars appear certain. The same applies to judging regulated verse. And then one must consider ancient pronunciation. More hairballs and ratholes. I am judging only by how a poem strikes me artistically, how well the language is used, how many layers of meaning are created, and things like that. And the world is free to disagree...