Yuan Zhang, Visiting Scholar at the Fairbank Center, presents Mark Wu and the Fairbank Center with her poem, "Partridge Sky," at this year's Chinese New Year Celebration.

“Partridge Sky” by Yunuo Zhang (Yuan Zhang), calligraphy by Meng Zhang, offered as parting gift as Fairbank Center celebrates Year of the Dragon

During the Fairbank Center’s February 12th Chinese New Year celebration, Yuan Zhang, Visiting Scholar at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies—who will be returning to Beijing this month—presented her poem, “Partridge Sky” (written under her literary name, Yunuo Zhang) as a parting gift. Zhang read the poem aloud to the audience alongside Fairbank Center Director Mark Wu.

Zhang says she was inspired to write this Song Dynasty-style poem in April 2019, while she was working in the Peking University Library. “Amidst a light rain, I admired the peonies in the nearby Jinyuan Garden 静园, which led to the creation of exquisite verses,” she remembers. “This poem weaves together descriptions of scenery, expressions of intent, and philosophical revelations, all under the theme of surpassing the peonies, gradually reaching a state of natural perfection, echoing the wisdom of ancient philosophers and poets such as Laozi, Yan Jidao, Su Shi, and Wang Wei across millennia.”

Partridge Sky
by ZHANG Yunuo

Rain drenches the spring robe, its old fragrance deep,
Year after year, swallows cry, thy shadow softly creeps.
A gentle breeze carries wordless queries in its sweep,
Bright moon illuminates the stream, over pebbles it leaps.
Poetry now grows cold,
The sword yet to sleep,
Across thousands of miles, tides return, amidst the purple Qi enveloping.
The profound mysterious of heaven and earth, always returning to stillness and the void,
The ineffable of wonders is born, surpassing even peonies in heaps.

Yuan Zhang (literary name Yunuo Zhang), Visiting Scholar at the Fairbank Center, with her poem, “Partridge Sky.” Calligraphy by elder brother Meng Zhang.