Replying to Wang Daosun  

By Mei Yaochen (Song Dynasty)


The Minor Snow Day has just past, and Great Snow has not come yet.

The wind blows the rain in the room through the window paper.

Now we drink with our new poems sung,

While we’d better not gather in the bad days.

About the poet:

Mei Yaochen was a poet of the Song dynasty. He was one of the pioneers of the "new subjective" style of poetry that characterized Song poetry.


Mei was born in Xuancheng in present day Anhui province. His pen name was “Sheng Yu'”. He passed the jinshi exam in 1051 and had a career in the civil service, but was unsuccessful. He was a prolific poet, with around 3000 work. He was popularized as a poet by the younger Xiu Ouyang.

Most of his works are in the shi form, but they are much freer in content than those of the Tang dynasty. His response to the impossibility of surpassing the Tang poets was to make a virtue of his lack of ambition. His ideals involved freedom and ordinary things. His early verses are often socio-critical, advocating reform along Neo-Confucian lines. Later he turned to celebrations of ordinary life and verses mourning the deaths of his first wife and several of his children.


Translated by Zhang Min

Editor: Wen Yi

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