Climbing to the Amusement Park 1 Before Leaving for Hu City 2

Du, Mu (803 A.D.-852 A.D.)

During this orderly era 3,
One who indulges in his own interests is incompetent 4.
At leisure I love to watch lonely clouds.
To gain peace of mind I love to visit monks 5.
Before going to the river and sea 6 to obtain the mayor's flag,
I climb to the Amusement Park to view Emperor Tai's 7 tomb.

1 The Amusement Park was located on a plateau southeast of the capital city, Chang-an. From the Han dynasty to the Tang dynasty, the Park was a popular tourist attraction.

2 Mu Du was originally a high-ranking official in the emperor's court. The corruption there would not allow him to achieve anything. Therefore, during the summer of 850 A.D. he petitioned three times to be assigned as the Mayor of Hu City, He gave the reason that the higher pay of the mayor would enable him to provide for his sick brother and widowed sister. This poem was written when he climbed to the Amusement Park before leaving for Hu City to assume the mayor's office.

3 "This orderly era" actually means "this chaotic era". Here an antonym is used to avoid trouble or persecution.

4 Du is competent. Here again an antonym is used.

5 Du's interest changes to mountains, rivers, and Buddhism, which implies that he loses interest in politics.

6 Hu City was located near the Yangtze River and the sea. Du wanted to go to the river and sea because the circumstances at the emperor's court would not allow him to stay.

7 Emperor Tai was a great emperor in the early Tang dynasty.