♦ Poem of the Week No. V

Note: A few months ago, an online friend of mine posted his own version of this week’s poem and it reminded me of how much I enjoyed reading this particular poet’s work. I have asked my friend for permission in featuring his poem in my blog, and I am waiting for his reply. He already has it posted online, but I guess I should be considerate and see if he agrees or not, nonetheless. The post will be edited in case he said yes.

Anyway, this week’s poet is:

Yuán Zhěn/Yüan Chen [Courtesy name: Weizhi 微之], the Chinese politician of Tang Dynasty, and more importantly, writer and poet, was born in 779 in Xi’an—the capital of Tang, China—around the time of Emperor Dezong’s ascension to the throne.  His father passed away seven years after his birth. With that, his mother too the family to live with their relatives at Fengsiang in Shensi. It was the place where Yüan was able to observe the suffering that military skirmishes and corrupt provincial government imposed on the young people during his years of youth. His mother took care of his education, and he was learning, among other things, the art of poetry

He thrived to reform the governments of two emperors, but instead of appreciating his efforts, he was banished twice from the imperial court. Though, with the help of his friend and fellow poet, Bo Juyi, he triggered a new kind of poetry. It was simple, style-wise, and its main aim is political and social reform.

While it has been noticeable that his the popularity of his poems has declined over the centuries, he is still best known to be the author of one of the most influential worse of prose fiction in Chinese literature – as described – called Yingying Zhuan [The Story of Ying-Ying – 鶯鶯傳].

Yüan died on September 2, 831, within a day of suffering of sudden illness. He left behind a collection of 100 volumes of poems, draft edicts, commemorative texts, and essays. In addition to that, he compiled a 300-volume work collecting ancient and contemporary legal rulings.

Yuán Zhěn [799 – 831]

Presenting the delicacy of his words, here is:

Letter Smuggled In A Fish

Your letter unfolds and unfolds forever.
I flatten it with my hands to read:

tearstains, tearstains and a trace of rouge
where it must have touched your cheek

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~ by Núr on July 28, 2013.

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