Bai Juyi and Liu Yuxi, Chinese poets during the Tang dynasty, went through all the ups and downs in political turmoil at the core of power and leadership, although they smoothly made an easy entry into the royal court at first. After many exiles and returns all over the country, the two friends exchanged consoling poems with each other sharing a common view of their situations, literal inclinations, and value systems.
Right before turning 70, they worked back together in the Crown Prince’s palace in Luoyang. Willingly and happily paying for drinks, they could narrow their distance and reunite to catch up after spending an eventful youth mixed with good and bad times. Naughtily forcing drinks on each other, the tipsy friends cleared their throats, and recited lines with their faces turned red. They would indulge themselves in discussing scriptures and history, one of the go-to activities among noblemen that outcompetes the joy and beauty of any beautiful music.
Such an intimate gathering must have been fun for the two friends of the same age and given them a great time to look back at the good old days. Seemingly consoling each other with much effort, the author of this poem reminds himself of the heart-warming promise, “Let us unwind and get boozy once again when chrysanthemums blossom and homemade alcohol gets ripe.”