Li Bai Poem: Endless Longing – 李白《长相思》















[1] 络纬:虫名,又名蟋蟀、纺织娘、促织。

[2] 金井阑:井上的栏杆。意思是井栏的木石美丽,价值如金玉。

[3] 簟(diàn):竹席。

[4] 青冥:天空。《楚辞》:“据青冥而摅虹兮。”

[5] 渌(lù)水:清澈的水。

Endless Longing

Li Bai

I long for one in all at royal capital.

The autumn cricket wails beside the golden rails.

Light frost mingled with dew, my mat looks cold in hue.

My lonely lamp burns dull, of longing I would die;

Rolling up screens to view the moon, in vain I sigh.

Above, the boundless heaven spreads its canopy screen;

Below, the endless river rolls its billows green.

My soul can’t fly over sky so vast nor streams so wide;

In dreams I can’t go through mountain pass to her side.

We are so far apart; the longing breaks my heart.

The poet describes a woman’s love for her lord in the capital. By tradition, the Beauty in a classical Chinese poem may refer to the sovereign. So it is said this poem reveals the poet’s loyalty to the emperor.


The poem “Endless Longing” is a work by Li Bai, a great poet of the Tang Dynasty, and consists of three poems. The first poem describes the scenery and atmosphere, and expresses the longing of a man and a woman, which seems to have a sentimental meaning; the second poem describes in white the scene of a woman playing the qin to express her feelings, conveying her love through the song, shedding tears and breaking her heart, and looking at her eyes, expressing the deep feelings of a woman for her distant relatives; the third poem uses flowers and a bed as the imagery, and gives emotion to express the male hero’s longing for his beloved. These three poems are different in content, form and mood, but all of them deeply express the pain of longing for a departed person, and are written in a sincere and lingering manner.

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