Endless Yearning I
- Poetry of Li Bai (Li Po)


- Last updated: 2024-04-23 22:09:10

Endless Yearning I by Li Bai (Li Po)








English Translation

"I am endlessly yearning

To be in Changan.

...Insects hum of autumn by the gold brim of the well;

A thin frost glistens like little mirrors on my cold mat;

The high lantern flickers; and. deeper grows my longing.

I lift the shade and, with many a sigh, gaze upon the moon,

Single as a flower, centred from the clouds.

Above, I see the blueness and deepness of sky.

Below, I see the greenness and the restlessness of water....

Heaven is high, earth wide; bitter between them flies my sorrow.

Can I dream through the gateway, over the mountain?

Endless longing

Breaks my heart."


Why Chinese poems is so special?
The most distinctive features of Chinese poetry are: concision- many poems are only four lines, and few are much longer than eight; ambiguity- number, tense and parts of speech are often undetermined, creating particularly rich interpretative possibilities; and structure- most poems follow quite strict formal patterns which have beauty in themselves as well as highlighting meaningful contrasts.
How to read a Chinese poem?
Like an English poem, but more so. Everything is there for a reason, so try to find that reason. Think about all the possible connotations, and be aware of the different possibilities of number and tense. Look for contrasts: within lines, between the lines of each couplet and between successive couplets. Above all, don't worry about what the poet meant- find your meaning.

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