Response to Ying-zhi Shi's Poem
Huang, Ting-jian 1 (1045 A.D.-1105 A.D.)
The tips of the chrysanthemum stems grow the morning chill 2.
While living, one should not leave a wine cup dry. In front of the wind, my
flute blows the rain at an angle. Intoxicated, I reverse my hat
put flowers in my hair. My health is great and my appetite is getting better. I
should be entertained by dancing robes and clappers 4
as much as I like. I will show my contemporaries that though I am white-haired,
hand-in-hand with a yellow flower 5 despite their disapproving eyes.
1 Lu-zhi was Huang's other first name. A native of Fen-ning City (present day
Xiu-shui City in Jiangxi Province), he passed the Advanced Exam in 1067 A.D. He
was a county clerk and then secretary. He once was in charge of writing The
History During Emperor Shen's Reign. Because there was something in the book
that the royal family considered untrue, Huang was demoted first to the deputy
mayor of Fu City, then to a low-ranking official in Qian City. Later, he was
summoned back and reassigned to be the Mayor of Tai-ping (peaceful) City.
2 This sentence says that the shiver of the chrysanthemum stem tips makes him
feel the morning chill.
3 The chapter titled "Absurd Stories" in Shi-Suo-xin-yu (Popular new
phrases) says, "When Ji Shan was the Mayor of Jing City/He often went to a
bar./People wrote a song about him:/When Mr. Shan is drunk,/He visit Gao-yang
Pool directly./At sunset he is carried back./Even though he knows nothing,/He
can still ride a horse./Reversing his hat,/He raises his hand and asks Jiang Ge,/'How
are people in Bing City?'/"
4 Clappers are a type of music instrument used for beating time.
5 "Yellow flower" refers to a young girl.