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呂從慶《永豐橋閒坐》“Sitting idly on the Yongfeng Bridge” by Lü Congqing









In worn socks and light shoes, [I] ease my pace,

Lodging my gaze [on the views] from the Yongfeng Bridge. [2]

Hills stretch from the eastern cottages to embrace those in the west;

Waters meander through the southern fields to join those in the north.

Village women sit in the vegetable plots, picking “horse teeth”; [3]

Countryside kids crouch in the streams, collecting “chicken heads”. [4]

In such idle hours, [I] forget about lunch without noticing it,

[Until] the setting sun casts a beam of light on the bamboo houses.

* From Lü Congqing 呂從慶 (824-921), Yongfeng cungao永豐存稿, Siku quanshu cunmu congshu 四庫全書存目叢書 (Jinan: Qi Lu shushe, 1997) edition, vol. 10 of the jibu 集部, 7a (277).

[1] Red characters rhyme.

[2] Yongfeng Bridge is one of the eight scenic spots along the Feng Stream in Jingde 旌德 (near modern Xuancheng, Anhui), where the poet led a reclusive life after the fall of the Tang dynasty. [3] Machi 馬齒 (horse teeth) here refers to common purslane (Portulaca oleracea), an edible plant widely found in fields. Known as a kind of weed, or wild vegetable, as well as a herbal medicine, it is represented through different images in Chinese literature. The former two perceptions are particularly common in poetry. Whereas some poets depict purslane as unwanted plants that hinder the growth of cultivated vegetables (thus a metaphor for those who malign or frame up real gentlemen), others integrate it into farmstead poetry as a symbol of tranquility and crudeness. [4] Jitou 雞頭 (chicken heads) here refers to the edible seeds of prickly waterlily (Euryale ferox). Most parts of the plant are also used for medicinal purposes.

"Shedu" 射瀆 in the album Shuicheng tu 水程圖 by Qian Gu 錢穀 (fl. 16th century) and Zhang Fu 張復 (fl. 16th century)

Picture credit: National Palace Museum, Taipei

Album leaf "Ba fang renshou" 八方仁壽 by Dong Gao 董誥 (1740-1818)

Picture credit: National Palace Museum, Taipei

Purslane in my garden.

Prickly waterlily

Images from Plant Photo Bank of China:


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