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Neighbors even at the end of the world

Posted February. 26, 2021 07:21,   

Updated February. 26, 2021 07:21


Appointed to a new post, a friend of the poet’s is about to leave Changan for Shu Han, a distant city in Sichuan Province, southwest of the capital. Although he leaves behind the Royal Court in the center of the capital Changan, a place ornamented with splendid and safeguarded with tight security, to work in a remote region, he may not have been relegated forcefully. However, the poet hopes to give consolations to his dear friend. It is his friend’s destiny as a member of officialdom to stay away from home and relocate across the country at some intervals. The poet may feel empathy by imagining wandering around anywhere his feet tread for whatever reason. My friend, we share the same feelings and thoughts. No matter how far we are apart, we feel connected as if we lived nearby just like close neighbors. Let us tell each other that we are best friends and accept the moment when we say goodbye. Fighting back the tears, the poet tries not to lose his composure at the fork of a farewell road. However, his poetry implies that a bottomless depth of friendship smears his heart and leaves him with tearful eyes.

“If there is anyone out there who understands you inside out, you feel him as if he were one of your closest neighbors even if he lives at the other end of the skies.” This phrase is commonly used to emphasize that psychological attachment matters more than spatial distance. This expression‎ was derived from a verse sent by Cao Zhi in the former era to his younger brother Cao Biao, which says, “A great man, once strongly determined to achieve his goals, embarks on a long-haul journey with a light heart as if he dropped by his neighbor’s.” As such, Wang Bo tries a sophisticate twist on the old phrase.