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Collection of Liu Yuxi's works

2013-02-25 15:05:25



Liu Yuxi came from from Luoyang city, Henan Province. He was an official who passed the highest imperial examinations when he was twenty and he worked alongside the poet Liu Zongyuan. Later, he was demoted for political reasons and sent to work for nine years in a minor position in Langzhou in Hunan Province. Though he was later recalled to the capital, he continued to have political problems, offending officials with his satirical writing, and finding himself again exiled to various postings around the country, though he ending his life working in a good position as President of the Board of Rites. He was considered an important poet in his day, and wrote poetry that showed an interest in adapting folk songs to poetry (as in the "Bamboo Branch Song" included in the Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry) along with very strong political poems. His repeated exile was a direct result of the political views evinced in his poetry.

A Poem Responding to Bai Juyi's Poem for Me When We First Met in Yangzhou

The Ba Mountains and Chu Waters are sad and desolate, I was exiled there for twenty-three years. Missing friends I recite in vain the rhymed prose "Listening to a Flute"; Returning home I feel like the person whose ax-handle became rotten. A thousand sails pass by a sunk ship, ten thousand trees spring in front of a sick tree. Today I hear you sing one song, with this cup of wine my spirit flies.

---Translated by Tony Barnstone and Chou Ping

Autumn Song

Since ancient times autumn has brought sorrow and loneliness, but I say autumn days are better than spring. In sunny heaven one crane catches clouds in its wings and leads my poetic passions into blue sky.

---Translated by Tony Barnstone and Chou Ping