Reply to Ordinary People from within the Mountains by Li Bo

Contributors to the Poetry Pavilion and I chose seven poems to recite as part of an inaugural Poetry Slam event at the Chinese New Year Party, 2022. Two poems by Li Bo (701-762) were included. Li Bo is one of the most famous of Tang dynasty poets. The poem below is a shi 詩poem in five-character regulated verse, with five characters in each line and internal rhymes in which Li Bo explores the pleasures of life as a recluse, who has withdrawn from a life of service to enjoy the pleasures of solitude.



 

​山中答俗人 李白

Shān zhōng dá súrén Li Bo

Reply to Ordinary People from within the Mountains by Li Bo

聞余何意棲碧山,

Wèn yú héyì qī bì shān,

When you ask why I take refuge in Bluestone mountain,

笑而不答, 心自闲。

Xiào ér bù dá, xīn zì xián.

I smile and don’t reply, my heart at ease in itself.

桃花流水杳然去

Táohuā liúshuǐ yàorán qù

Peach blossoms flow on the water, unfathomably going

別有天地, 非人間。

bié yǒu tiāndì, fēi rénjiàn.

to a different heaven and earth, not the human world.

Reply to Ordinary People from within the Mountains by Li Bo
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落花詩意圖 (Poetic Feeling of Fallen Flowers) Shen Zhou (沈周, 1427–1509), Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), Album leaf, Nanjing Museum


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