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To the Tune of "The Sky Filled with the Partridge Tune 1 "

Wu, Wen-ying 2 (1200?-1260?)

Prologue. I wrote this poem in Hua-du Temple 3.

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The blooming lotuses accompany me
As I lean against the banister.
Ravens often bring sunset as they return to their nests.
Dark clouds carry rain;
The sparse leaves of a phoenix tree fall.
The tranquil moonlight seems to produce the coolness
As I fan myself.

My dream to return home is unlikely to be fulfilled.
The river and the sky are wide.
Her knitted eyebrows may appear more sorrowful
Than the autumn mountains outside her window.
I hope the wild geese bound for the Wu District
Will deliver my letter to her dwelling surrounded by willow trees.

Notes

1 The partridge tune was a type of music similar to flute music or the music played by wind instruments. The title of the poem sung in the following video file is "To the Tune of 'The Sky Filled with the Partridge Tune'":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlznBEQCVZ8

2 Wen-ying Wu was a native of Si-ming City (present day Ning-bo City in Zhejiang Province). Jun-te and Meng-chuang were his other first names. He never passed the Advanced Exam and made a living as a mayor’s assistant in many cities. In his later years, he called himself Jue-weng (awakened man). Wen-ying Wu died from poverty and hardship. During the Jing-ding Period (ca. 1260), he was a house guest of King Rong and befriended poet Qian Wu (1195-1262). The Collection of Poems of Seven Poets compiled by Zai Ge (1786-1856) says, "Wen-ying Wu met Qian Wu and became his follower. Wen-ying loved to write poetry during his later years. Modern poets consider Kui Jiang's poetry tranquil and graceful and consider Wen-ying Wu's poetry deep, gentle and elegant. Wu's choice of words was extraordinarily refined due to years of practice." At first glance his poetry is full of pictures. Actually, it contains anima moving along the lines. After careful study, one will find his poetry tasteful and fascinating. We neither deem his language obscure nor consider his writing loaded with fancy phrases. His poems and those of Bang-yan Zhou (1056-1121), Da-zu Shi (1160?-1210), and Kui Jiang (1154-1221) are considered the main stream of poetry written during the Song dynasty. The poems of the above four poets can be traced to the same origin. They only vary in outward appearance. Like the poetry of Shang-yin Li (813-858), Wu's literary grace is well organized, his personal charm flows and turns between the lines, and his themes and passion have a lingering appeal.

3 Hua-du Temple was located in Jiang-zhang-qiao City, in northern Ren-he-Xian County.