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A fledgling poetic adventurer

Posted April. 07, 2023 08:10,   

Updated April. 07, 2023 08:10


It was in his mid-20s that Li Bai left his hometown of Sichuan and began touring the southeastern part of the continent. Although he had the intention of touring all over the world, broadening his knowledge and promoting fellowship with celebrities, his ultimate goal was to ascend to a government post and spread his own magnificence. Of course, this dream was by no means a delusion. This is because he read the Hundred Schools of Thought from a young age, was enthusiastic about creating poems and prose, had a natural talent for it, and was exceptional in his wisdom and courage to gauge the world. It was also the earnest wish of his father, who had made his fortune through trading, that he become a high-ranking official and restore his family's former glory.

The streets of Jinling (now Nanjing) and Yangzhou would have looked like a whole new world to the eyes of a poetic adventurer, a young man from the countryside who had entered the bustling city of Jiangnan and had hundreds of thousands of possessions. At the time of his youth, when he was brimming with brilliance and passion, could Li Bai, a young man with abundant wealth and unlimited freedom, pass by the elegant courtesan houses lined up on the street? He was entertained by a delicate beauty with a splendid dress holding a golden wine glass and a 15-year-old female singer whose crude southern dialect was buried in flirtatious songs. How would the poet react in front of a beauty who suddenly fell asleep in his arms while soaked in laughter and drinking glasses going back and forth? Could the fledgling romantic adventurer's restless perplexity be palpable in the air? Or was it filled with the vitality of a young man who was about to enjoy intense pleasure with that beauty? The phrase “What should I do with you inside the lotus-patterned curtain” sounds all the more puzzling.