Poems of Yu Xuanji
Answer-Poem to "I and My New Neighbor Both Beg Wine"
Comes a new poetic verse, I chant it one hundred times.
New feelings come as every word sounds a golden chime.
West, I see I already have a reason to climb a wall.
But gazing far, I just can't change my own stony heart.
Milky Way in the distance, empty as far as can be.
On my lute, I play "End of a Xiang River Dream."
A chance meeting on a cold day makes me yearn for home.
Lonely nights, get a good wine and then you're no longer alone.
Why do I feel embarrassed when lines in my translations rhyme?
This poem is probably also from late in Yu Xuanji's life when she has established herself poetically, probably in Chang'an, where she now, probably, lives. She doesn't mark this poem as an answer to Wen Tingyun. So it is probably to some other poet in her circle of literary friends. The original poem must have been about climbing over a wall to ask a new neighbor to the west for wine and finding they were about to ask you for the same.
It must be something like that because her answer-poem must respond not only to the original rhyme scheme but also to the original substance of the poem. And then one tries to "take over" the challenge poem so that it enters some other sphere or context. And your challenger has to answer that in return. It is like duelling over-intellectualised classical pianists or something, this poetic battling. Yuan Zhen once challenged Bai Juyi with a poem so hard that Bai wandered around town asking his friends for help with a particularly thorny rhyme issue.