CCHH: China Centre For Health And Humanity


Twelve Scholars of the Bamboo Grove

11 April 2014

To celebrate the end of lectures and UCL's first UG course in Ancient and Medieval Chinese History, twelve talented students set out to emulate the Seven Scholars of the Bamboo Grove.

Now read on...
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To celebrate the end of lectures and UCL's first UG course in Ancient and Medieval Chinese History, twelve talented students set out to emulate the Seven Scholars of the Bamboo Grove, Tang-dynasty Daoists who pursued poetic excellence and transcendence through inebriation. Fortified with barbecued lamb kebabs and sparkling wine, they filled Mecklenburgh Square Gardens with their effervescent eloquence.

One classic mode of Tang dynasty poetic composition involves improvising eight-line poems in rhyming couplets and - in our case - draining your cup when the company deemed yours was a worthy poem (and sometimes when it was a bad poem, or any kind of poem at all). Classic topics include drinking, lamentation, and love. The students were given five minutes per poem, and have proved themselves to be the new Bloomsbury Bards.


  • The winning poem by Alice Lemkes

Alcohol: A Fresher's Story
For HW

Students boozing, love to binge
Drunken antics, make you cringe
Jäger bombs? Can't go wrong there
Tequila too? Got some change spare
Cheap pints on a Wednesday night
More and more: you want a fight?
Hospitalised… gone too far
No more again? Heard that before.

  • Fruitful collaborations


The Gardens

Salad with a spoon
Wine is coming soon
Thanks to Vivienne
Beautiful garden
Fire burns the ashes
Hair makes the dances
Pedals flying
Lyrics coming

The Gardens
Spuds in their jackets
Cakes in their packets
The beer is flowing
Imagination lacking
Sample five sapours
Relish all flavours
Pass someone the fork
To unscrew the cork


Cats in Gordon Square
Parrots flying nowhere
Pigeon's mangled feet
Bread for them to eat
Foxes copulate
Noise keeps me up late
Camden Town Friday night
Salsa wildlings in blue light


One three-stringed fiddle
Two tunes pitched middle
Check the football scores
Ignore social mores
Consult poet's muse
So afraid to lose
Watch the sun go by,
Windows reflect sky


Flowers for the homosexual marriage
Death for the discrimination for it*
Daisies in Mecklenburgh Square
Why is there so much despair?
Let's not worry too much though
Thanks for the food Dr Lo!
Daffodils are abundant
So don't be too despondent

*29th March 2014 was the day that same-sex marriage became legal in the UK

Subject: HISTORY

Qinshi Huangdi's rise
China is the prize
Long life in the West
Kunlun Queen Mother's rest
Liu Bei's shining sword
Cao Cao, poetry lord
Once origins, now Lord Lao
Status of structured Dao



Happy people walking by
Under the great blue sky
Seeing such happy scenes
One thinks times are easy
Trees sway in the breeze
Time pulls with ease
Hearts break whither torn
Sitting alone forlorn

Exam is on the 1st of May
That will be a horrid day.
Until then we'll sob and cry
Afterwards we might just die.
Or if not we'll carry on
But our hopes will be all gone.
Give our books up for our lives,
Each becoming rich men's wives.

  • We are individuals

Subject: ALCOHOL


Warm wine in autumn
Nights long, day's low sun
By the fire, sleepy
Winter with whiskey
Slow change - a new year
Warm winds and cold beer
Long days, summer sun
Gin! Tonic! Coke! Rum!

The end of the course
Gui's lack of remorse
Shang oracle bones
To dynastic thrones.
The 1st of May looms
Exam failure doom
Cure of sadness, drink
Spare us from the brink

Bottle of red wine
Skint fresher - good time!
Peroni in bag
Not the Lidl crap
Sick in common room
LSE cleaner's doom
London painted red
Hangover - brain dead

Booze was judged to be
Far greater than tea
Served in Han and Qin
At banquets of the King
Fit for games and larks
Played in Royal parks
Seven sheng to drink
Makes it hard to think

Some call you heartless
You call them mindless
Some call you dangerous
You call them generous
You are ached with craze
You are banned with erase
Desire in absence,
Pain in abundance

Alcohol, devil or saint?
In open air or in tent?
Go for it or against it?
Consume or vomit out?
Unsolved the dilemma
Big worries for a mermaid
What happens I give my life
While he raises his sharp knife

A great second year occurred
Now write 7000 words
Like a battling Mongol
I'll have to drink alcohol
To get through the long essay
Without life being too messy
Might need the help of Buddha
It's a serious matter

Its taste may not be the nicest,
My rum is Tesco's finest
Mix with coke, hold your nose,
Students' saying always goes.
If you have ice, you're in luck,
Finest cocktail in the book.
Gets you hammered in the street,
And thank god, it's really cheap.

Sparkling Prosecco
Has made me mellow

The sweet potatoes
Have warmed my cold toes

The butter and bread
Was very well spread

The sun is yellow
So more Prosecco

  • A collaborative coda

29th March, Mecklenburgh Square Gardens
Seedbed of budding scholars
Or kept spouses with flash cars

Each a single future narrates
Out-singing London parrots

Our common knowledge pooling
Wine guides our muse to tune in

Let's drink to the Tang refrain
Before our ways part again