Poems of Xue Tao
Nine Days Stuck in the Rain, in two verses
From the wastes come harsh gales, cold winds drive deep.
River town turns desolate, every day is dark.
Who does not pity those marching into the hills
And pity cold virtue, in color like bronze?
This odor of medicine spoils autumn's best days.
A smell of cold, yellow chrysanthemums fills the court.
If the goddess would come, she would know what we need,
Beginning with ending this dark pool of rain.
Xue Tao, like many other poets, mostly does the four-line old-style verse. I wish she did more of these longer poems. They give more room for developing the poem. There was a poet in the Song dynasty who left behind almost ten thousand of those little old-style quatrains. Somewhere, in that kind of effort, it begins to seem like bad taste. Or a bad habit. A poet is more than someone who writes a "poem" a day. While some of Xue Tao's short verses show her growth in this art, many seem like just another poem. But those are often the thank-you notes for guests. So she might be writing for her audience and not have all the time for herself that she might wish for.