Chinese poem illustration: 暮秋独游曲江/ Alone to Qujiang in Late Autumn by Li Shangyin


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Alone to the Qujiang(曲江) ruin in Chang’an city in late autumn in the very last 2 or 3 years of his life, Li wrote this poem. The Qujiang ruin , used to be a magnificent public park with royal gardens, a huge lake, crowded with citizens and celebrities , even the royal society, is the sign of decaying Tang dynasty , as well as Li’s life.

It is a poem of very unusual writing compared his other poems, with simple wording, without sophisticated illusions and historical allusions, yet with a lot overlapping characters , which normally considered bad in poetry writing. The content and style of writing revealed the poet is expecting to his death unbearablely.

The words , 荷叶生时春恨生- the lotus leaves grows vividly in the spring while for Li Shangyin, spring is just a time that new sorrow and hate grow. 深知身在情长在-as far as his flesh exists, the sad feeling would stay with the flesh. When I read to this line, It is crystal clear that Li Shangyin got nothing but sorrow and hate in this life, which was totally unbearable.



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