Sunny twilight
- Poetry of Li Shangyin


- Last updated: 2024-03-29 20:27:59

Sunny twilight by Li Shangyin





English Translation

Overlook the parapet wall on the lonely balcony.

spring has gone but summer is still cool.

God has a special mercy on the little grass,

this world also has a soft spot for the sunny twilight.

Balustrade i hold,stare the distant scenery silently,

afterglow floats on my window,looks so cute.

The humid nest on the tree is dried by the sun,

Look,those birds come home,fly lighter than the morning.

Although “The Fine Evening” describes the simple transition from spring to summer, Li Shangyin incorporates his unique emotions and imagery to elegantly illustrate his experience with the fine evening weather. Li Shangyin sets the scenery with the first term, 深 (deep), signifying his isolated location. In this peculiar place, people and nature often go unnoticed. However, 天意(Providence) pities the secluded grass and replaces the gloomy spring rain with the glowing summer sunshine, allowing both nature and the poet to become awestruck by the wonderful summer evening weather. Li Shangyin’s decision to incorporate Providence into the reason behind the transition from spring to summer raises the significance of this natural phenomena to another level; in essence, every aspect of creation is adorned by God. His reference to religion is not surprising; in fact, Li Shangyin studied Daoism during his youthful days. Daoists favor the simple and the natural, believing that “dao” is the Way of Nature. As such, his reference to the spontaneous passing of spring and the grass’ relief can be interpreted as Daoist references.

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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