Written on New Year's Day

Liu, Chang-Qing 1 (709 A.D.-785 A.D.)

I am alone and tearful on the shore of the sky 2
And have become extremely homesick as the new year arrives.
I still work for someone else in my old age
And will not be able to return home even after the spring ends.
I pass day and night with neighboring mountain gorillas;
The willow trees by the river share the wild wind and dense fog with me.
My bitter plight is already similar to that of Yi Jia 3;
I wonder how many years I will have to remain in exile.

1 Liu started his political career very late. In 759 A.D., he was appointed Mayor of City H. Soon he was fired and arrested for the crime of being straightforward and offending his supervisor. Consequently, he was demoted to a low-ranking official of City N on China's southern border. This poem was written during his exile.

2 The shore of the sky symbolizes a remote and unpopulated region.

3 Yi Jia was once the Advisor of Emperor Wen in the Han dynasty. Later, Jia was slandered by powerful enemies and sent into exile. Soon after, he committed suicide.