The complexity of homosexual relationships inevitably led to the creation of poetic works immortalizing conflicting sentiments. Ruan Ji (210- 263CE), lover of Xi Kang, was one of the most famous poets to apply his brush to a homosexual theme. This work, one of several dealing with homosexuality from the "Jade Terrace" collection of love poetry, beautifully illustrates the stock imagery on which men of his time could draw in conceptualizing and describing love for another man.
In days of old there were many blossom boys --
An Ling and Long Yang.
Young peach and plum blossoms,
Dazzling with glorious brightness.
Joyful as nine springtimes;
Pliant as if bowed by autumn frost.
Roving glances gave rise to beautiful seductions;
Speech and laughter expelled fragrance.
Hand in hand they shared love's rapture,
Sharing coverlets and bedclothes.
Couples of birds in flight,
Paired wings soaring.
Cinnabar and green pigments record a vow:
"I'll never forget you for all eternity. "