The Home of Gods 1

Li, Shang Yin (812? A.D.-858 A.D.)

The Heavenly Mother at the Home of gods opens her beautiful window.
The ground trembles at the sad sound of "the Yellow Bamboo Song 2 ".
She knows that Emperor Mu's eight great horses can travel three thousand miles a day
And wonders why he has not returned as he promised 3.

1 Li wrote this poem to ridicule Emperor Wu of the T'ang dynasty, who died (847 A.D.) from taking a pill that an alchemist had told him would make him immortal. Li used a mythological story about Emperor Mu (around 1011 B.C.) of the Chow dynasty to show that even the Heavenly Mother could not make Emperor Mu immortal.

2 Emperor Mu wrote the song “Yellow Bamboo” when he saw people freezing on a road lined with yellow bamboo trees.

3 The Heavenly Mother held a party for Emperor Mu at the Home of gods on the K’un Lun Mountain. When they parted, she asked Emperor Mu to return three years later if he was still alive.