Poems of Yu Xuanji
When Friends Were Prevented by Rain from Visiting
Geese and fish have faith in emptiness but,
Having cooked for guests, my regrets have no end.
I shut my door to keep out the moonlight while
Threads of silk blow off my open curtains.
Dpwn by the spring, the cries of birds crescendo
And the distant river overflows its banks.
I am a homesick, melancholy exile this autumn,
Sadly chanting this five character line poem.
This poem is not so sad as it seems. The faithful geese and fish, endless regrets, resentment of the moon all seem all seem, to me, a hyperbole meant to make her friends smile. They couldn't make it over the swollen river. Yu Xuanji knows this. She sends them this poem to let them know she's sorry they couldn't come. And to make them smile. I would put this poem in the period between her finishing her studies with her master (868) and her onset of illness (870).