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To My Colleagues in the Two Departments While I Attend the Morning Meeting at Da Ming Palace

Jia, Zhi 1

The silver candles high on street lamps light the long purple streets 2.
The Forbidden City 3 is deep green in the spring morning.
A thousand delicate willows bend over the ancient doors.
The song of flying orioles surrounds the palace.
The sound of jade pieces 4 follows that of footsteps on the marble floor.
The clothes, hats, and bodies absorb the fragrance from the royal incense burner.
We bathe in the emperor's favor at the Pool of the Phoenix 5.
By serving the emperor together,
We gain virtue every day.


Response to Zhi Jia's Poem "Attending the Morning Meeting at Da Ming Palace"

Wang, Wei (700 A.D.-761 A.D.)



A rooster-man with a red kerchief 6 announces the dawn's arrival.
The royal steward brings in a down coat made of green feathers.
Thousands of palace doors open, one after another.
The officials of various countries come to pay homage to the crown.
When the first rays of sun illuminate the palace,
The court ladies start waving their great fans to cool the emperor.
The smoke from an incense burner wants to waft toward the emperor and makes his robe billow.
After the morning meeting,
Zhi Jia has to cut the five-colored cloth to write edicts.
The jade pieces worn around his waist clatter
As he returns to the Pool of the Phoenix.


Response to Zhi Jia's Poem "Attending the Morning Meeting at Da Ming Palace"

Cen, Shen (717 A.D.-770 A.D.)

When roosters crow,
The first rays of the sun on the purple streets still feel cold.
The orioles sing around the palace in the late Spring.
Thousands of palace doors open when the morning bells ring.
The baton of the royal guards leads the officials to ascend the jade stairs.
The palace flowers welcome the swords and jade pieces 4 as the stars start to set.
When the dew is not yet dry, the willows brush against the emperor's flag.
There is an unusually talented guest at the Pool of the Phoenix 7.
It is difficult for our responses to match the quality of his great song.




1 Zhi Jia was an official in the State Department who was in charge of writing the emperorís edicts on a piece of cloth and announcing them.

2 The purple streets refer to the royal streets.

3 The Forbidden City here refers to Chang-An, China's capital in Tang dynasty, rather than Beijing. Today, the old location of Chang-An is Xi'an in Shaanxi Province.

4 The jade pieces were the decorations that officials wore around their waists to show their status.

5 The Pool of the Phoenix was another name for the State Department.

6 The rooster-man was the title of an official position. The red kerchief wrapped around the head symbolized the crest of a rooster.

7 Guest at the Pool of the Phoenix is a flattering reference to Zhi Jia.