Who was Bai Juyi?
Soldiers were still fighting, and when Juyi was ten years old a war came to where he was. His parents sent him away to live with relatives where it was safer.
Bai Juyi goes to school
Governor of Hangzhou
But while he was a governor Bai Juyi also wrote poetry. He wanted to write poetry that everyone could understand, in simple words. Because his poems were easy to read, and because he wrote about how government officials were mean to farmers, his poems were very popular. Bai Juyi’s most famous poem is the Song of Everlasting Sorrow. Bai Juyi also wrote poems called “The Grain Tax” and “The Philosopher” (about Lao Tsu) – and many other poems.
Retirement to a Buddhist monastery
When Bai Juyi was about 60 years old, he retired to a Buddhist monastery and lived there, still writing poetry. He lived to see the beginning of Emperor Wuzong’s great persecution of Buddhists in 840, and died at the age of 74 in 846 AD.
More about Bai Juyi
Song of Everlasting Sorrow
The Grain-Tax (a poem)
The Philosopher (another poem)
To read more of Bai Juyi’s poetry: