Wednesday, March 9, 2016

climbing Yueyang Tower

climbing Yueyang Tower

long ago I heard about Dongting Lake:
today I ascended Yueyang Tower—

Wu & Chu split apart to east & south
heaven & earth drift day & night on these waters

from family & friends: not a single word;
old & sick, with nothing but a boat—

war horses in the northern border pass—
I lean on the balcony, break down in tears & snivel

Jack Hayes
© 2016

based on Du Fu: 登岳陽樓
dēng Yuèyáng lóu

Climbing towers & mountains—anywhere high with an unimpeded view—was a longstanding tradition among the poets & literati of Medieval China. Yueyang Tower overlooking Dongting Lake was a renowned spot for such excursions.

Wu & Chu were both states during the Spring & Autumn & Warring States periods. The current provinces of Hunan & Hubei were included in Chu (as well as portions of several others), while Wu included the area around modern Nanjing & east to the coast, including the region around modern Shanghai. See the map at this link for more detail.

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
Yueyang Tower: Xia Yong – Yuan Dynasty

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