The Sky Dense with Birds 1

Xin, Qi-ji 2 (1140 A.D.-1207 A.D.)

    Near the creek, the room, furnished with a pillow and a bamboo mat, is cold as if autumn is about to come. The scattered clouds nestled by the water disperse at sunset. The red lotus flowers lean against each other as if they are drunk. The silent white birds must be sorrowful. Like Hao Yin, I write page after page of "duo duo" 2. Like Tu Si-kong, I build Xiu-xiu Gazebo 3. Then even a hill or a valley can inspire my imagination. I wonder how much my health has decayed. I tire simply by climbing stairs 4.

1 Xin wrote this poem by the Geese Lake right after he recovered from his sickness. The Geese Lake was located five miles northeast of present day Qian-shan County of Jiangxi Province.

2 Hao Yin of the Jin dynasty originally had a good position, but he was suddenly terminated for no reason. Therefore, he wrote page after page of "duo duo" (monstrous absurdity). See The History of the Jin Dynasty.
    Xin was a great general during his early twenties. After he surrendered to the Emperor of the Southern Song dynasty, he was given a small post. He wondered why the emperor did not give him a more important position. Therefore, he wrote page after page of "duo duo".

3 Tu Si-kong, a hermit of the Tang dynasty, lived on Zhong-tiao Mountain. He built Xiu-xiu (beautiful) Gazebo there. See The History of the Tang dynasty.

4 This line reveals that the state of Xin's health did not match that of his ambition.