Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Improvised grasses I painted on a postcard years ago.

Improvised Scene Poem

Plum blossoms, a lonely village
water flowing past a few cottages
Against the setting sun no one is seen,
just an ox lying in the wheat field.

JI YINHUAI (17th century)

Ji Yinhuai, also known as Mao Lu, was the sister of Ji Yingzhong, another Qing dynasty poet and learned how to write poetry from her brother. She wrote a collection entitled Deeply Cold Hall Poetry, but she stopped writing when her husband, Du Ji, was killed during the Manchu invasion of the city. She lived in poverty with her children for over thirty years. Her line "Nesting ravens and flowing waters highlight autumn" was highly praised by Wang Shizen.

Poem and information from The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry from Ancient to Contemporary, Kindle location 1571.

Today I read a book called One Drawing a Day, but I did not make one drawing. Soon, though, I plan to start. Small. It is wonderful to me that this small poem by the female poet Ji Yinhuai has survived to come to English readers in this translation. Truly wonderful. Good night.

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