Variations on Li Bai

Chinese poet Li Bai from the Tang dynasty, in ...

Chinese poet Li Bai from the Tang dynasty, in a 13th century depiction by Liang Kai. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the exercises the students have been given in the past is take the characters of poems by the poet Li Bai and to write their own variations upon the meanings.For those that cannot read Chinese they are given the pinyin and maybe a direct translation of the characters. This still leaves a lot of work to do and a lot of variations in the final results. When I first came across this exercise I decided I was going to join them. I wrote the following poems as a result.

Parting in Nanjing

The willow blossom’s scent

Hangs soft upon the breeze.

The cafe throngs with guests

Yet whispers lie with tears

The minds made warm with wine

And Wu cries out for more

But as her toasts are drained

The young man slips away

“Young Gentlemen I plead

Please ask the river’s song

To change from flow to ebb

And speed him back to me.”

Quiet Night Thoughts

My bed melts in the ice-cold glow of a moonlit night

I am no longer sure: where ends the light

and where begins the frosted loam?

I lift my head to face a cold bright sky

so falls my head and heart as I

remember home.


About Maitiu

I am a collection of aspects. A father, a husband, an uncle, a son, a teacher, an aspiring writer, an amateur photographer, a poor guitar player, a slightly better singer... Online however I am a 365er looking to find out what people make of my personal poetic musings and my photographs. Drop a penny in an old man's hat and let me know what you think... (Leave a comment!)
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