A ribbon of sun runs over the water
Spreading a gleam of rubies and emerald
Sweet and aching is this third night of the Ninth Month
With dew like pearl and the crescent bow
– Francis Chin, Saturday, May 12 2007
The sentimental ideology of everyday living
The poem was probably written in 822 when Bai was prefect of Hangzhou. Away from the stress of court politics, Bai was in a receptive state of mind to enjoy nature and record his true feelings.
Not everyone would agree with my translation, of course. The literal rendering is:
A path of pale sun paves the water
Half the river is crimson and half emerald
Thinking back on this third night of the Ninth Month
With the dew like pearl and the moon like a bow.
Bai Chii-yi (Pinyin, Bai Juyi), 772-846, wrote poems that quickly set you in a mood of gentle melancholy and receptive nostalgia. The lines are easy to memorise and easy to recite. Indeed you could even set this poem to rap music.