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Winter Walk Berries

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Edited by Richard Walker, Wednesday, 9 Dec 2015, 01:32


I've been reading The Idler's Companion and came across a Chinese poem that begins

Reply to Chang Yin

I have a cottage in the Chungnan foothills
The Chungnan mountains face it.
All year long no guests.
And the gate remains shut.

This a genre I've always found appealing: a person of letters and action retires to a place of seclusion; there to live in quiet contemplation; and seek wisdom. 

It's by Wang Wei, who lived in the 8c: a painter, poet, and high official in the imperial administration. I looked Wang Wei up and found another celebrated poem.

When those red berries come in springtime, 
Flushing on your southland branches, 
Take home an armful, for my sake, 
As a symbol of our love. 

On a winter walk I found the striking red berries at the top of this post. They reminded me irresistibly of this poem, even though spring has passed, and no-one will be gathering them for my sake.
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