Bai Juyi Poem: Song of Willow Branch – 白居易《杨柳枝词》









[1] 永丰:唐代京都洛阳坊里名。

Song of Willow Branch

Bai Juyi

A tree of million branches sways in breeze of spring,

More tender, more soft than golden silk string by string.

But in west corner of a garden in decay,

Who would come to admire its beauty all the day?

This quatrain reveals the poet’s sympathy for a willow tree in a decayed garden.


The poem “Song of Willow Branch” is a seven-line poem written by Bai Juyi, a poet of the Tang Dynasty. The first two lines of the poem are about the beauty of the willow tree, and the poet focuses on the willow, showing the dynamics, form and color of its material. The second two lines are about the poet’s evaluation of the willow tree and his own, because the place where the willow tree was born was not allowed to get its place and could not be appreciated by people, implying that talent was not met and he was unjust, implicitly attacking the talent selection mechanism and relevant government officials at that time.

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