Poems of Xue Tao
Ten Poems of Leaving: Parrot Leaves Cage
Here in Gansu, all alone, without any family
I fly back and forth from my brocade perch.
All along, I've had to talk whether I wanted to or not.
I cannot, in this prison, talk to you again.
I'm pretty sure, after doing four of these "leaving poems," that they are early efforts of Xue Tao. While they could be exercises from training days in the courtesan's guild, they could also be exercises she set for herself. Only in her later years did Xue Tao become a good poet. But Xue Tao used what talents she had to get out of the courtesan's guild and become hostess of a district commandery. She seems to have remained in that relatively high position until her mid-forties. And then she went on to live her own life. She accomplished quite a bit in life, if you ask me.