Poems of Yu Xuanji
Hilltop Summer Home
I came here to live in this immortal abode where
No one had to plant these thickets of flowers.
Little trees in the courtyard are a ridgepole for the sky
As I sit at this fresh spring with its overflow of wine.
My balcony overshadows a path through deep bamboo
As my sleeves overflow this messy pile of books.
I take advantage of my idleness and a painted boat
To chant and trust that this slight breeze will blow me home.
This poem must take place after Yu Xuanji has been at the monastery for a time (864) and before her illness (870). She is not on a mountain here, only the hills of her monastery -- some back corner of the grounds with a bamboo grove and a path down to the river, or perhaps only a pond, with some painted boats. She could be newly independent from having finished her training and beginning to live on her own in the monastery here (865-868.) I should say that all this chanting she mentions is not religious chanting but the declaiming of poetry, perhaps musically as song. All these Tang poets chant their poems out loud.