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five characters in each line and internal rhymes in which Li Bo explores the pleasures of life as a recluse, who has withdrawn from a life of service to enjoy the pleasures of solitude.
Shān zhōng dá súrén Li Bo
Reply to Ordinary People from within the Mountains by Li Bo
Wèn yú héyì qī bì shān,
When you ask why I take refuge in Bluestone mountain,
Xiào ér bù dá, xīn zì xián.
I smile and don’t reply, my heart at ease in itself.
Táohuā liúshuǐ yàorán qù
Peach blossoms flow on the water, unfathomably going
bié yǒu tiāndì, fēi rénjiàn.
to a different heaven and earth, not the human world.
落花詩意圖 (Poetic Feeling of Fallen Flowers) Shen Zhou (沈周, 1427–1509), Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), Album leaf, Nanjing Museum