Golden Bells

Poem By Bai Juyi

When I was almost forty

I had a daughter whose name was Golden Bells.

Now it is just a year since she was born;

She is learning to sit and cannot yet talk.

Ashamed—to find that I have not a sage’s heart:



Henceforward I am tied to things outside myself:

My only reward—the pleasure I am getting now.

If I am spared the grief of her dying young,

Then I shall have the trouble of getting her married.

My plan for retiring and going back to the hills

Must now be postponed for fifteen years!

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Other poems of BAI JUYI

Grasses

Boundless grasses over the plain
Come and go with every season;
Wildfire never quite consumes them --
They are tall once more in the spring wind.

Autumn Thoughts, Sent Far Away

We share all these disappointments of failing
autumn a thousand miles apart. This is where

autumn wind easily plunders courtyard trees,
but the sorrows of distance never scatter away.

Song Of The Guitar.

In the tenth year of Yuanhe I was banished and demoted to be assistant official in Jiujiang. In the summer of the next year I was seeing a friend leave Penpu and heard in the midnight from a neighbouring boat a guitar played in the manner of the capital. Upon inquiry, I found that the player had formerly been a dancing-girl there and in her maturity had been married to a merchant. I invited her to my boat to have her play for us. She told me her story, heyday and then unhappiness. Since my departure from the capital I had not felt sad; but that night, after I left her, I began to realize my banishment. And I wrote this long poem -- six hundred and twelve characters.

I was bidding a guest farewell, at night on the Xunyang River,
Where maple-leaves and full-grown rushes rustled in the autumn.

After Lunch

After eating lunch, I feel so sleepy.
Waking later, I sip two bowls of tea,

then notice shadows aslant, the sun
already low in the southwest again.