Bai Juyi: Send Off Wang the Eighteenth

Send Off Wang the Eighteenth

送 王 十 八 归 山 寄 题 仙 游 寺
曾 于 太 白 峰 前 住
数 到 仙 游 寺 里 来。
黑 水 澄 时 潭 底 出
白 云 破 处 洞 门 开。
林 间 暖 酒 烧 红 叶
石 上 题 诗 扫 绿 苔。
惆 怅 旧 游 无 复 到
菊 花 时 节 羡 君 回。
Song Wang Shi Ba Gui Shan Ji Ti Xian You Si

Ceng yu tai bai feng qian zhu
Shu dao xian you si li lai.
Hei shui deng shi tan di chu
Bai yun po chu dong men kai.

Lin jian nuan jiu shao hong ye
Shi shang ti shi sao lu tai.
Chou chang jiu you wu fu dao
Ju hua shi jie xian jun hui.

Send Off Wang the Eighteenth, Wrote About His Return to the Mountains Near the Xianyou Temple

I used to live around the Taibai summits
Arrived at the temple, counted the departing immortals traveling away.
Dark murky water settles out, in time see the bottom of deep pools
White clouds undulate, cave openings come into view.

In the caves and the forest, warm up the wine, leaves are already red
Sweep the green moss, written poems inscribed into the rocks.
Sadness knowing past travels will never happen again
Admire your opportunity to return during the Chrysanthemum Festival days.



Xianyou Temple:  Located near and to the southwest of the capital of Chang’an. Built in 598 during the Sui Dynasty. The emperor ordered a Buddhist pagoda built to house some Buddha relics.

Taibai summits:  Mt. Taibai is located in southwest Shaanxi Province. It’s highest peak is over 12,300 feet. Literally meaning the planet of Venus, the area is sacred for Daoism.

Chrysanthemum Festival:  Also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, it occurs on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month. It is known as a time to visit the graves of ancestors, drink chrysanthemum wine, climb into the mountains and wear the zhuyu plant.



The line that begins with “Dark murky water…” expresses the sentiment and reality of gaining some clarity of mind.  The metaphor of “white clouds” means a state of freedom and spirituality that is often used by the ancient Chinese poets.  “Cave openings” are the invitation.

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