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Posts Tagged ‘Tu Mu’

Li Ho (791-817) was a T’ang poet who, according to Five T’ang Poets, Translated by David Young, “….has a reputation as a gaunt and ghostly enigma, summoned on his deathbed by a heavenly messenger riding a red dragon. A common phrase for him is Kuei-ts’ai: demon talented. And his literary influences can be found among many subsequent writers.

One of them, Tu Mu, a 9th Century poet, was asked some 15 years after Li Ho’s death to write a preface to his collected poems. He tells us that he fudged and evaded the assignment, out of a sense of inadequacy. When he settled down to it, though, his enthusiasm took over….”

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Here is Tu Mu’s preface. Steal a line and run. Let your mind go wild.

Clouds and mist, mingling softly, cannot describe his manner; endless stretches of water cannot describe his feelings; the green of spring cannot describe his warmth; the clarity of autumn cannot describe his style; a mast in the wind, a horse in battle cannot describe his courage; earthenware coffins and engraved tripods cannot describe his antiquity; flowers in season and beautiful women cannot describe his intensity; fallen kingdoms and ruined palaces, withered grasses and gravemounds, cannot describe his resentment and sorrow; whales yawning, turtles dancing, oxghosts and snake spirits cannot describe his unreality, wildness, extravagance, and illusion.

Sunday, January 7th, 2007

-related to post, Among Ruins – Li Ho (791-817)

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