Tea-picking Poem

TAGS: | UPDATETIME: 2020-07-16


It is getting warm after the spring rain and thunder,

New tea leaves start sprouting among branches.

Girls with silver hairpins sing folk songs to each other,

Competing to pick the most tea leaves in the shortest time.

They get home with the fresh scent of tea leaves on their hands,

The highest qualities will be sent to the Prefecture first.

The newly baked tea leaves are not tasted yet,

They are packed into baskets and will be sold to Hunan merchants.

Satirical poems and songs were also created and reflected struggles of tea farmers and ridiculed greedy officials. After Mid Ming, the amount of tribute tea soared due to an increased pressure upon citizens by higher bureaucrats. Officials demanded higher taxation and escalation of the requirement of tribute tea. Some citizens began to grow angry with these demands, including poets Gao Qi and Han Bangqi.Although their main occupations were government officials, they were also generally acknowledged writers who voiced their complaints through poems that became widespread folk ballads. Through their writings they requested the reduction of taxation and tributes. However, Gao was accused by the government of "involvement in a rebellion conspiracy” and was executed, while Han was imprisoned by officials wanting to hide their written works.