A Poem Written on the Road at Dengfeng with the Imperial Entourage
by Song Zhiwen (dates approximately 656 – 712)
This poem was written on the road with Empress Wu as she climbed Songshan Mountain to make a ritual sacrifice. Dengfeng is south of Songshan Mountain.
The Emperor encamped in splendor amidst the mountain peaks! How wondrous is the Emperor’s procession.
Dawn clouds touch the rolled up tent entrance as the lantern sparks mix with the departing stars
From the valley darkness ten thousand banners emerge, the mountain spirit calls “Long Live the Emperor as the Emperor appears
Coming along as a retainer is worth remembering in verse, helas I lack the talent equal to it.
It was fun thinking about Emperess Wu camping out in the mountains in a fancy palace tent as dawn arrives. I took 星回 to mean the stars are departing to their daytime star home wherever that is. I say valley darkness rather than dark valley because of the grammar. The Chinese is 谷暗 the dark valley would be 谷暗 I think.
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