Po Chü-I: Selected Poems

Po Chü-I: Selected Poems

Po Chü-I: Selected Poems

Po Chü-I: Selected Poems

Synopsis

Es ist kurz nach Mitternacht. Auf dem Quai de Grenelle vor dem Novotel steht der Notarztwagen mit rotierendem Blaulicht. Zwei Sanitäter schieben die Trage hinein. Für Raphael Delacroix kommt jede Hilfe zu spät - auf dem Weg in die Klinik stirbt er an einer Aberdosis. Und Dr. Vincent Bouché, ein Inspecteur général, fragt sich: Selbstmord oder Mord? Aus einem vorbeifahrenden Cabrio ertönt ein Chanson von der Piaf. Dort unten geht das Leben unbekümmert weiter.Bouché schlieat die Balkontür des Zimmers 330 und zieht die Vorhänge vor.

Excerpt

The T’ang, everyone with an interest in Chinese literature agrees, was the great age of Chinese poetry in the classical language. Three of its poets, because of their vast scope and creativity, loom particularly large: the tirelessly innovative and intensely serious Tu Fu; Li Po, the wine-enraptured romanticist; and Po Chü-i, the—well, what is Po Chü-i most famous for? Simplicity of language, for one thing, especially in comparison with the others in the triad. For the large number of his works that have been preserved—far more than those of any of his contemporaries. And for an abiding desire to portray himself, whatever he may have been in real life, as a connaisseur of everyday delights, a man confronting the world, particularly in the years of old age, with an air of humor and philosophical acceptance.

True, there are other important aspects of Po’s work. In his younger years, for example, when he embraced the Confucian ideal of poetry as a vehicle for exposing and righting the ills of the time, he wrote caustic poems of social and political satire. Also a product of youth is the famous narrative poem “Song of Everlasting Regret,” richly romantic in tone, which tells of the tragic love between Emperor Hsüan-tsung and the beautiful Yang Kuei-fei, and has by now been translated into English so many times that I have not included it here. There are poems on religious themes reflecting his early interest in Buddhism and Taoism and his increasing devotion to Buddhist study and practice in later years. And then there are poems of intense sadness, occasioned by partings or deaths, in some cases the deaths of his own children, or by moods of deep depres-

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