Literary wordplay

One for readers of Chinese!

Among the ritual manuals of the Li family Daoists, the final page of Li Qing’s Xiewu ke gives this ingenious poem about the Eight Immortals, each pair of “characters” making up a seven-word line (4 +3):

baxian-poem

 

鐘離鉆石把扇搖
果老騎驢趙州橋
洞濱負劍清風客
國舅瑤池玉品簫
彩和手執雲楊板
拐李先生得高道
仙姑來俸長生酒
相子花籃獻蟠桃

This is nothing to do with their ritual practice. Though the composite characters may look at first sight like talismans, any cultured reader would enjoy reading (and deciphering) the poem.

Li Manshan enjoys such word games, and puts me onto others like this:

screen-shot-2017-01-20-at-10-35-10

to be read thus:

半夜三更門半開
小姐等到月西斜 [1]
山高路遠無口信
哭斷肝腸少人来

Variant versions of both can be found online.

 

[1] 到 to be substituted for the implied 倒:“upturned 等 turned back up”

5 thoughts on “Literary wordplay

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