Poems of Xue Tao
For Officer Guo's Poem, Inscribed on Ten Thousand Mile Bridge
Alone on Wanli Bridge, you sang old homesick songs
and your writing here is proof of your sad heart.
Fine lines, at once charming and full of the past.
I know, between the boat and pounding rain, you couldn't linger.
This is a response poem, in answer to the poem which Guo wrote on some surface of the bridge. It also suggests that his poem was written after Xue Tao failed to show up to see him off. And reading between the lines, I'd guess she planned it that way. It is possible that courtesans and hostesses did a lot of that kind of planning, men being what they are. I'm also beginning to think that every bridge and relay station and who knows what else in the Tang dynasty was covered with spontaneous poetry written by passing guests, friends, and lovers.