Ssu-mu Hsiang-ju

(179 BC - 117 BC / China)

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During the Han period elaborate rhyming prose (fu) dominated the world of poetry, and Sima Xiangru was its most able practitioner. Sima was born in Chengdu, and showed his special talents in composing poetry since early ages. However, his literary talent attracted no attention from the government. He remained obscure all the time. One day, when passing a crowded bridge, he etched some words on its... more »

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Best Poem of Ssu-mu Hsiang-ju

Male Phoenix Pleads With Female Phoenix

This male phoenix has returned to his old home,
from roaming the four seas searching for his mate.
Time was not yet ripe, there was no way to meet her;
then what a surprise: this evening I come up to this hall,
and there's a dazzling maiden in the women's quarters.
The room near but she far: this poisons my guts.
How can we entwine our necks like mandarin ducks?
How can we flutter about, and together soar?

Lady phoenix, lady phoenix: come with me and nest,
be supported, breed with me, forever be my wife,
exchange love in the usual way, our hearts ...

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