Selected works from 10th to 13th Century
Li Bai crowned as “Fairy Poet”
Poet Li Bai travelled in Nanjing and regarded it as the holy land of culture. Among his poems still globally celebrated as masterpieces today, more than 100 are related to Nanjing. Innumerable verses and idioms that exist, knowingly or not, in the modern Chinese consciousness were born from Li Bai’s prolific stint of creation spent in Nanjing.
Lines by "Immortal Poet" Li Bai About Nanjing"Ascending Phoenix Terrace in Jinling"
On the phoenix terrace, phoenix at play.
Phoenix gone; terrace empty; the river flows on alone.
Wu Palace: flowers and weeds bury the dark paths,
Robes and caps of the Jin Dynasty have gone into grave mounds,
The three Mountains half-falling beyond the sky,
White Egret Isle splits the river into two.
Always, floating clouds cover the sun
No sight of Chang’an: sorrow, sorrow.
Du Mu crowned as “Little Du”
Du Mu, an outstanding Tang dynasty poet and essayist, spent a time in Nanjing during which he compiled many poems describing the city’s beauty. Spring of Jiangnan, Anchoring in Qinhuai, Jinling and Song of Taicheng are among some of the most famous pieces.
Lines by Du Mu About Nanjing"A Mooring on the Qin Huai River"
Mist veils the cold stream, and moonlight the sand, As I moor in the shadow of a river-tavern,
Where girls, with no thought of a perished kingdom, Gaily echo "A Song of Courtyard Flowers".
Lines by Li Yu, the "Master of Ci Poetry", About NanjingTo the tune of "Beauty Yu"
Dismal.. .downcast.. .disconsolate
A warm spell—then it's back to winter
Hard to find rest.
A few swallows of weak wine
Can hardly fend off the urgent wind towards evening.
The wild geese have gone—
Breaks one's heart!—
They are acquaintances from the old days.
The yellow petals are piled all over the ground,
Forlorn and damaged: now, what's worth the plucking?
At the window,
Alone, how do I brace myself against the encroaching dark?
The wutong tree soaks in the drizzling rain,
Drip-drops, drip-drops into the dusk...
These things, this moment,
How can one word — "grief"—say it all?
Lines by Li Qingzhao, "China's Greatest Female Poet"，About NanjingTo the tune of "Note After Note"
Searching and searching, seeking and seeking,
so chill, so clear,
dreary, and dismal, and forlorn.
That time of year
when it's suddenly warm, then cold again,
now it's hardest of all to take care.
Two or three cups of weak wine —
how can they resist the biting wind
that comes with evening?
The wild geese pass by —
that's what hurts the most —
and yet they're old acquaintances.
In piles chrysanthemums fill the ground,
looking all wasted, damaged —
who could pick them, as they are now?
I stay by the window,
how can I wait alone until blackness comes?
The beech tree, on top of that
the fine rain, on until dusk, the dripping drop after drop.
In a situation like this
how can that one word "sorrow" grasp it?