Two Poems

Xu Beihong Chinese

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Here, Xu Beihong transcribes two of his own poems for Lin Yutang's daughter, Taiyi:

Toward the edge of a lush forest are hundreds of dwellings.
Stretching my eyes across the chilly river, I hear evening crows cry.
How I love the brimming waters bounding eastward,
Which give up their purity for the sands of the Ganges.
The Rajmahal palace was built on the Ganges River.
I first visited it in the twenty-ninth year of the Republic [1940].
The clear sky is especially lovely tonight.
Leaning against the window, I feel only the chill of moonlight.
Dining by lamplight, life is so difficult,
Facing a vase of plum blossoms, I eat my dried biscuits.

This was a sketch of my life at the Central University at Shapingju [Shapingba, in Chongqing] in the twenty-seventh year of the Republic [1938]. It has been almost five years since then. Although life is hard, it has improved a little.

(trans. by Shi-yee Liu)

Xu Beihong modeled his calligraphy on the "singular yet correct" writing styles of the eras prior to the formalization of rules and methods
during the Tang dynasty (618–907). The component strokes of individual characters convey a sense of weightiness and precarious balance, while the central axis of characters occasionally tilts to one side, adding a certain gestural charm.

Two Poems, Xu Beihong (Chinese, 1895–1953), Album leaf; ink on paper, China

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