Poems of Xue Tao
River Tower Moon
Autumn wind imitates Wu River's cold flow.
In the sunset, shadows of seagulls cross the road.
A rainbow crouches over the watchtower gates
And the fortress walls glower down on little fishing boats.
In this peaceful light, a child claps her hands in laughter.
Am I helping you picture this Jiangnan scene?
I've been thinking about my theory that we have the poems Xue Tao held back from The Brocade River Collection. In all these poems, there are very few which are good enough to include in a large collection. A big series of scrolls implies a lot of work by copyists and block-carvers and printers. What we have are early poems, unsatisfying (for her) artistic efforts, and remembrances. You can see Xue Tao's nascent talents in what we have. But you will never see what she grew into.
On the other hand, she might not have been all that good. We only have forty-eight Yu Xuanji poems. But if Yu had lived until she was fifty-eight, instead of twenty-eight, I believe we would be pairing her name with people like Bai Juyi and Du Fu. I think that all of the remaining Yu Xuanji is better than any of the Xue Tao (unless the last two surprise me...). But even this is an unfair comparison. What survives through time is in no way "statistically" anything. Time doesn't preserve anything fairly. It skews the view absolutely.