Chinese poem illustration: 登鹳雀楼 Up the Stork Highrise by Wang Zhihuan
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If you just read one Tang poem, this is the one : simple, open-minded, visionary and extremely positive. It depicted a very ordinary tour, climbing up the Stork High-rise(鹳雀楼) building at a famous fort by Yellow River.
In the poem, the falling sun is not just magnificent, it lets the reader to look into the far distance in the west with a strong sense of time passing. The running Yellow river is not only a typical metaphor of time passing, it extends the eyesight to the open sea on the east which also implicated social trends and personal pursuit.
Enjoying magnificent view of nature and country, sighing for time gone? definitely not for a Tang people, he would like to climb up one more floor to go beyond. Starting with the most magnificent high-pitch, hard to continue the poem in a normal case, the genius poet changed his angle in the 3rd sentence, and let your imagine and endeavor to something unknown and beyond.
This poem is of some similarity to the idiom of Standing on the Shoulders of Giants. But the image of the idiom is static and explanatory, while this poem is dynamic, positive and suggestive, with a much more grand view. Chairman Mao has a word for youth: 好好学习, 天天向上. I do believe he borrowed some vision from this poem.
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