To Ming-Fu Liu When I Ascended to the Platform for Watching Gods on the Ninth
Cui, Shu (?-739 A.D.)
Emperor Wen of the Han dynasty built this Platform for Watching Gods
When I ascended to the platform today,
The color of sunrise opened.
The cloud-covered mountains of Three Jins 3 extended to the north.
The wind and rain came from the two Hills 4 in the east.
Who could know the sage, Xi Yin 5?
The gods above the river went away and would not return.
I would rather visit the Commissioner of Peng-Ze County 6.
We will drink wine, observe chrysanthemums, and have a good time together.
On the ninth day of the ninth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, Chinese
people used to drink wine and enjoy observing chrysanthemums to celebrate the
2 The Biography of Gods says, “An old man on the Yellow River gave
Emperor Wen a book titled Lao-Zi and left. Later, Emperor Wen lost
contact with him, so he built a platform on the Western Mountain to look for
him.” The Platform for Watching Gods is located twenty miles west of modern E
County in Shaanxi Province.
Three Jins refer to the territories of Countries Han, Zhao, and Wei during
the Warring States Period. These three countries divided the land of the old
4 Tzuoo's Interpretation of Spring-Fall says, "There were two hills in Yao City: the southern one was the Tomb of Queen Gao (tiger's skin) of the Xia
dynasty; the northern one was used by Emperor Wen to shelter himself from wind
5 The Biography of Gods says, "Xi Yin was an official of the Zhou
dynasty. He performed good deeds anonymously to cultivate morality, so his
contemporaries did not know him. When Lao-Zi traveled to the West, he wrote a
book, Dao-De-Jing, for Yin because he recognized Yin's outstanding
personality. Later, Yin accompanied Lao-Zi to visit a region of sand dunes. We
do not know what happened to Yin afterwards." Here Shu Cui used Xi Yin to refer
to himself, for he was talented but had no great man like Lao-Zi to appreciate
The Commissioner of Peng-Ze County usually refers to Yuan-Ming Tao, a great
pastoral poet who did not want to bow down for his salary. Here Shu Cui used the
Commissioner of Peng-Ze County to refer to Ming-Fu Liu instead. The chapter titled
"The Biography of Hermits" in the book, The History of the Southern Dynasty,
says, "Yuan-Ming Tao was the Commissioner of Peng-Ze County. He untied the
ribbon of his official seal and resigned. On September 9th, Tao had no
wine to drink, so he went out to sit among chrysanthemums beside his house.
After a while, Hong Wang brought him some wine. Tao drank wine straight from the
bottle. After he got drunk, he returned to his house."