Bai Juyi’s “Farmhouse”

This article is reprinted from: Guangming Daily

Bai Juyi was displaced throughout his life and suffered from war and chaos. He paid more attention to the living conditions of the people at the bottom. The famous poems such as “Xing” and “Viewing the Wheat”. As he grew older, he missed the mountain village style more and more, and envied the “farmhouse music”.

About the age of eight or nine, Bai Juyi moved with his father to another place and spent a simple childhood in the Jianghuai region. It was during this time that Bai Juyi looked at the surrounding idyllic scenery. When he became an adult, he set foot on this land several times and wrote a long poem “Zhu Chen Village” in a praised tone.

Bai Juyi wrote in his poem that there is a place called Zhuchen Village more than 100 miles away from Fengxian County, Xuzhou, with green mountains as companions and green water as neighbors. Because it is far away from the hustle and bustle, the folk customs here are simple and ancient. Hearing “the sound of the machine shuttle”, seeing “the ox and the donkey are walking”, under the blue sky “the woman draws the water in the stream, and the man collects the salary on the mountain”. The villagers are self-sufficient and never leave their homeland. “Every family guards the village’s business, and they don’t go out when their heads are white. They are born as citizens of the village, and die as the dust of the village. Tanaka, the old and the young, meet He Xinxin.” The two surnames Zhu and Chen in the village have intermarried from generation to generation, which is called “Zhu Chen Zhi Hao” in history. What makes Bai Juyi even more envious is that “there are families who are close and distant, and there are groups of young people who travel together. Yellow chickens and white wine have a happy meeting that lasts for ten days. Both life and death are peaceful, and they do not suffer from form and spirit. Therefore, longevity tests often lead to great-grandchildren.”

In ancient my country, literati who went into seclusion due to their disappointment in their careers usually expressed their love for the landscape and wrote poems on the countryside. Although Meng Haoran is famous for his talent in moving the ministers, he has no chance of getting in. During the period of seclusion in Lumen Mountain, I was invited to be a guest at a farmhouse. When I was drinking, I wrote “Guo Ren Zhuang”: “The green tree village is close to the edge, and the green hills are sloping outside. Open the Xuan noodles garden, and talk about the wine.” The idyllic “farmhouse” scene could not be more intimate for Bai Juyi, who has lived in a town since he was a child.

The “Zhu Chen Village” written by Bai Juyi is not an idyllic poem of a hermit, but a custom painting of the villagers. The whole poem is five words and sixty-eight lines, and the language is plain and easy to understand. The first half describes the purity of the folk customs and customs of Zhuchen Village, and the second half recalls the suffering of his own half-life. Comparing the two, the sadness comes from it. Thirty is a minister of counsel. I have a wife who is tired below, and a gentleman above me. I hope that I will not look down on my family and the country. I recall the beginning of my trip yesterday, and I am in the fifteenth spring this year.” Gennakan “Lonely boats are suitable for Chu, and horses pass through Qin in four directions. There is hunger in the daytime, and there is no reassurance in the night. Things do not stay temporarily, and the traffic is like a floating cloud. They each have relatives in their entire lives. They say goodbye every day, and hear about the deceased every other year. Worry in the morning and sleep until dusk, and cry and sit until morning. The concluding sentence falls on “This life is so hard, the people of Changxian village”.

At the age of fifteen, Bai Juyi, who had moved to Quzhou with his father, still remembered the old days, and wrote “Send the North from Jiangnan, because of Sending Xuzhou Brothers Book”, which is closely related to him. The statement in “Zhu Chen Village” is consistent with “recalling the beginning of yesterday’s travel, and looking forward to this fifteenth spring”. If it is said that “Jiangnan Sending Northern Visitors, Because of Sending Xuzhou Brothers Books” is his debut novel of “Five-Five Can Genus”, then “Zhu Chencun” is his memoir of “sorrowful frost invading the temples”.

Su Shi also visited Zhuchen Village. According to his research, the village is not part of Xuzhou but Suzhou. Su Shi once knew Xuzhou, and the textual evidence should be credible. In fact, there are many villages named Zhuchen Village in the whole country, such as Linyi, Taizhou, Huai’an and other places have Zhuchen Village. We don’t need to stick to this, but appreciate Bai Juyi’s “farmhouse music”.

In recent years, people living in the city can’t help but feel tired of being in the “reinforced concrete” forest. When I have free time, I often go to the countryside to enjoy some “farmhouse music”. Bai Juyi’s “Zhu Chen Village” can also be regarded as a “farmhouse” in a paradise. As Professor Jiang Yan said, Zhu Chencun once made Bai Juyi yearn for it, and Bai Juyi made Zhuchencun famous for the ages. For a long time, “Zhu Chen Zhi Hao” has become synonymous with marriage and harmony. Zhuchen Village has become an ideal paradise for ancient Chinese villagers, endowed with the cultural image of a beautiful farming society.