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Response to Ying-zhi Shi's Poem

Huang, Ting-jian 1 (1045 A.D.-1105 A.D.)

    The tips of the chrysanthemum stems grow the morning chill 2. While living, one should not leave a wine cup dry. In front of the wind, my flute blows the rain at an angle. Intoxicated, I reverse my hat 3 and put flowers in my hair. My health is great and my appetite is getting better. I should be entertained by dancing robes and clappers 4 as much as I like. I will show my contemporaries that though I am white-haired, I walk hand-in-hand with a yellow flower 5 despite their disapproving eyes.

1 Lu-zhi was Huang's other first name. A native of Fen-ning City (present day Xiu-shui City in Jiangxi Province), he passed the Advanced Exam in 1067 A.D. He was a county clerk and then secretary. He once was in charge of writing The History During Emperor Shen's Reign. Because there was something in the book that the royal family considered untrue, Huang was demoted first to the deputy mayor of Fu City, then to a low-ranking official in Qian City. Later, he was summoned back and reassigned to be the Mayor of Tai-ping (peaceful) City.

2 This sentence says that the shiver of the chrysanthemum stem tips makes him feel the morning chill.

3 The chapter titled "Absurd Stories" in Shi-Suo-xin-yu (Popular new phrases) says, "When Ji Shan was the Mayor of Jing City/He often went to a bar./People wrote a song about him:/When Mr. Shan is drunk,/He visit Gao-yang Pool directly./At sunset he is carried back./Even though he knows nothing,/He can still ride a horse./Reversing his hat,/He raises his hand and asks Jiang Ge,/'How are people in Bing City?'/"

4 Clappers are a type of music instrument used for beating time.

5 "Yellow flower" refers to a young girl.