Poems of Xue Tao
Their joy withered and fell as spring ended and,
wet with tears, their pink notes resent your leaving.
They've been afraid since we walked along Wu Gorge
asking, Why now so many wars and fallen men?
They send their love, like incense, in every direction
and do not ask you to return, for you already know.
They only want me to sleep soundly on my mat and,
waking late at night, idly speak with you about our love.
This would be from Xue Tao's years with Wei Gao, the district commander. Wei Gao spent much of his life at war, putting down rebellions for a succession of bad emperors. He was very good at what he did. Which meant that more and more responsibility was laid on his shoulders. He must often have left his palace in Chengdu, with Xue Tao not knowing if he would return alive. To me, this is a loving, intelligent, and refined poem and shows that she loved him. And it is another regulated poem. So we move her ability in this form back from the days of her Daoist independence to the earlier time in Chengdu. She still may have learned it there from the poets she met as hostess of the district.