Chapter 706: Husband Missing Wife!
Translator: Legge Editor:
He put down the brush.
The composition was complete.
When the first line of this poem was initially revealed, no one could see anything good about it. Everyone first noticed Zhang Ye's aesthetically pleasing characters, and when he wrote out the rest of the characters with an unrestrained, elegant motion of the brush despite his body looking extremely relaxed, many of the young female teachers who were observing started exclaiming excitedly. A few of the teachers and professors who were professionally trained in calligraphy also had stunned expressions. They rushed closer to have a clearer look, then looked even more stunned!
"This calligraphy skill is so high level!"
"An amateur hobbyist would not be able to write in this manner!"
"Is that Xíngkǎi? I've never seen such a style of Xíngkǎi before, it feels a little similar to the traditional Xíngshū style, but yet a little different." [1.]
"The characters are beautifully written!"
"I didn't expect that Zhang Ye could write such a good calligraphy piece!"
"It's also my first time learning that Teacher Zhang's calligraphy skills are at such a high level!"
Everyone was stunned at what they were seeing.
Liao Qi raised an eyebrow, looking rather surprised as well.
The several Tsinghua University teachers all looked at one another.
Only Su Na's expression did not change. Previously at the Calligraphy Association's anniversary gathering, which was also a day to celebrate Wu Zeqing and another calligraphy master's birthdays, Su Na and many others from the Calligraphy Association had all witnessed Zhang Ye's calligraphy skills. Su Na felt that the best work by Zhang Ye was that poem called Ode to Mulan. All the unique styles of Zhang Ye's writing were reflected in this work. This was a style unique to Zhang Ye. No one could write in the same way as him even if they imitated such a style directly from his works!
Clearly, no one from this world knew that Zhang Ye's calligraphy was imitated from the handwriting style of his previous world's famed calligraphy master, Wang Xizhi, the Sage of Calligraphy. Even though Zhang Ye had not eaten enough Calligraphy Skill Experience Books yet, and was still lacking quite a bit of soul, as long as he could achieve 20% of Wang Xizhi's calligraphy style, it would be enough to shock the people of this world. The title of Sage of Calligraphy was not for nothing, and not self-proclaimed by Wang Xizhi himself, but affirmed by history itself!
"It's so good!"
"These words are really feast for the eyes!"
"If this were a contest of calligraphy, Professor Liao would have been utterly defeated."
"Yeah, but the topic is still on poetry."
Many people were full of praise, but after having their breath taken by Zhang Ye's calligraphy skills, everyone slowly began to notice Zhang Ye's poem. They wanted to know how Zhang Ye would perform with the theme of "husband and wife" he was unfamiliar with.
Su Na squeezed to the front.
Dean Pan also went forward.
The poem read like this:
Husband Missing Wife
Gazing with dried eyes over the span of mountains and rivers,
How many a bosom friend have I met thus far?
The pot empty, afraid of pouring wine,
Difficult to pen my reply.
Journeyed away from the living for a long time,
Without news I slowly return home.
The lamp serves as my companion on lonely nights,
I am thinking of you, my wife and son.
After he finished, Zhang Ye even left his signature on the piece.
After a final glance at his work, Zhang Ye nodded with satisfaction and put down his brush. Then he strolled toward the surrounding crowd and squeezed past them to make his way back to the barbecue grill to continue eating, this time attacking the grilled mushrooms.
The remaining crowd cheered!
"The entire poem revolves around the 'missing' character. It embodies the husband's thoughts and feelings for his wife and was described in such a lonely but beautiful manner!"
"I'd thought that Teacher Liao's poem had already reached the peak of perfection! Who knew that Teacher Zhang is indeed Teacher Zhang! He thoroughly deserves his reputation! It's not any worse in comparison to Teacher Liao's poem! Moreover, Zhang Ye is not even married yet, so this theme of 'husband and wife' was already a topic not in his area of expertise. If we consider that point and include the fact that this was an improvised work, then it shows even more clearly how skillful Zhang Ye is!"
"Professor Zhang is still so full of literary talent."
"This poem is just like his calligraphy skill, they're both amazing!"
"Beautifully executed, Teacher Zhang!"
Dean Pan nodded firmly, giving his approval.
Su Na gave Zhang Ye a thumbs up from afar.
Most of those in the female teachers' team also happily started dishing out their praise. As expected, Zhang Ye did not disappoint them, he did not let them down at this critical juncture!
A female teacher laughed, "I guess we won this final round?"
Ma Qi from the Chinese Literature team frowned. "What do you mean by you all won it? Teacher Liao's work is also very good. At least in terms of usage of words, I find Teacher Liao's phrasing to be more sophisticated."
A male teacher from Tsinghua University nodded with a smile. "I also find Teacher Liao's poem to be better and more beautiful."
Su Na disagreed, "Of course it's Teacher Zhang's poem that's better. No question!"
A female professor looked at the male teachers' team and said, "Whoa, you guys don't want to admit that you've lost now?"
"Why do we have to admit that we lost? Teacher Liao has indeed composed his poem quite well, so it's still very difficult to say who has won or lost yet. After all, when it comes to art, it's very difficult to distinguish who is better. Everyone has their own views and opinions," someone from the male teachers' team said.
An older professor who was very qualified commented, "That's true. In my opinion, each of these two poems have their strong points that stand out. It isn't easy to come to a clear conclusion as to which is better, so why don't we leave this to the judges. We will let the three judges vote and whichever work gets more will win."
"Let's leave it to the judges then."
"Zhang Ye will definitely win."
"It has to be Teacher Liao who wins it!"
Everyone looked to the judges, eager to find out the result.
Liao Qi was also very concerned about the results, but did not show it on his face.
But compared to Liao Qi and the few other Tsinghua University teachers, Zhang Ye was even more indifferent. After completing his job, he left it all behind and went straight back to eating and drinking.
At this moment, the young male teacher judge said something. "In my opinion, I still think that Teacher Zhang's Husband Missing Wife is better. Compared to the other poem I enjoyed the mood of this poem more."
The female teachers' team suddenly laughed happily at this.
"That's how it should be!"
Then the next judge, Li Rui said, "I don't quite agree as I feel that both poems carry the mood quite similarly. However, I find Teacher Liao's poem to be clearly more suited to the theme of 'husband and wife.' In his poem, it greatly shows the theme with the husband, wife, and love written into it. But Teacher Zhang Ye's poem is more written from the perspective of the husband and only expresses one side of the pair's feelings. The poem is still good, but in the context of the theme, Teacher Liao's poem definitely takes it."
Many of those who heard this judgment also thought that this was a logical argument.
"Yeah, Teacher Liao's poem is more complete and in line with the theme."
"Yes, regardless of how Teacher Liao's other poems are, this one today is really quite well written."
Li Rui voted for Liao Qi.
Zhang Ye and Liao Qi were now at a draw with the votes at one-to-one. It was all down to the last judge's decision.
The last judge was the comparatively older professor who walked up over to the two poems which had been hung up vertically to take a closer look at them. He then turned around with a helpless smile. "I can't decide which is better. Both are beautiful to read, so why don't I abstain from voting and we'll make this a draw."
"Then who's the winner?"
"I guess that just means there's no winner or loser."
"Then will we be adding another round to the contest?"
"Let's just leave it as a draw."
"Hai, we nearly did it, heehee. I was still hoping to see the male teachers' team perform square dancing!" [2.]
The contest finally ended with a draw. This was a result many people could accept. It was just a game after all, so as long as they were not judged to have lost and had to be punished, then it would be fine.
Liao Qi did not have any issues with this either. To be able to come up against Zhang Ye and walk away with a draw was a result he could wholly accept. At the moment, he and a few other Tsinghua University teachers all shot a belittling glance at Zhang Ye. As expected, just like how Liao Qi and a minority of them thought, Zhang Ye did not turn out as legendary as they claimed. If it really had to be said, at most Zhang Ye could be considered a very excellent literary artist. A master? He's not at that level yet! Even Liao Qi's poem could draw level on terms with his, so how could Zhang Ye be considered on the level of a master? His standard was only so-so!
Ma Qi said with the intention of bootlicking, "I can see that Teacher Liao has surpassed himself and gone a level higher already. Will this be the path you will be walking down more often from now on?"
Liao Qi laughed and waved it off. "Me? I think it's better for me to keep teaching with honest intentions, composing poetry and such things should just remain a hobby for me. I wouldn't do this professionally."
Li Rui also smiled and said, "For an amateur to write at such a good level, you're making us feel embarrassed."
Several of the Tsinghua University teachers also gradually chipped in with their flattery.
Over at the other side, Su Na had walked up to Zhang Ye from behind. "Still in the mood to eat?"
Zhang Ye grunted out a yes. "I've been using my mind too much for the past few days. I don't really know why I am feeling so hungry, but I've probably spent too much energy thinking." Not only was he tired from thinking about the question setting for the exams, he had also done some speed learning this morning using the Memory Search Capsules.
Su Na pouted, "They've already come to a judgment over there. It's a draw."
Zhang Ye smiled. "I heard it. If it's a draw, so be it."
"This poem of yours today was indeed not bad, but compared to your previous works, I feel that you have not fulfilled your potential," Su Na said helplessly. "You're usually more competitive than this, but look at you today. It seemed like you didn't care at all. I don't think you even gave it any thought when you were writing this poem, right? You just casually picked up the brush and composed it. If you had been more serious, how could you possibly not beat Teacher Liao? This isn't your usual standard at all."
I can't beat him?
I composed it offhandedly?
Zhang Ye smiled without saying a word. He did not offer any arguments to that.
Beside them, a few Peking University female teachers also said, "Hai, Teacher Zhang, you've really underestimated your opponent today. Teacher Liao obviously came prepared, yet you didn't do your best. With your reputation, a draw would already mean that we lost. If it gets out that Teacher Liao's poetry standards are on equal standing with you? Teacher Liao would get all the attention. By then, everyone might even think that we all from Peking University aren't a match for them from Tsinghua University."
Suddenly, someone appeared walking up the hill towards them.
-It was the Chinese Literature question setting team's Yu Fan!
Prior to this, Yu Fan was busy with the examination work and thus came rather late. When he arrive, he was a little taken aback by the scene. He smiled and asked, "What's the matter? Was there a contest again? Who won this year? How did you all divide up the teams?"
Li Rui smiled and said, "It's a tie this year."
Yu Fan blinked. "You can even manage to tie?"
Ma Qi said, "In the final round, both teams finished with a draw."
A summary of the situation was related to Chief Yu.
Chief Yu's interest perked and he went forward. "Let me have a look."
[1. Xíngkǎi is a variant of this style]
[2. ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Square_dancing_(China) ]