Li Ching Chao

Li Ching Chao Poems

This morning I dreamed I followed
Widely spaced bells, ringing in the wind,
And climbed through mists to rosy clouds.
I realized my destined affinity


To the tune of "Telling My Most Intimate Feelings"

When night comes,
I am so flushed with wine,

A friend sends her perfumed carriage
And high-bred horses to fetch me.
I decline the invitation of
My old poetry and wine companion.

Search. Search. Seek. Seek.
Cold. Cold. Clear. Clear.
Sorrow. Sorrow. Pain. Pain.
Hot flashes. Sudden chills.

To the melody of "Sheng Sheng Man"

I pine and peak
And questless seek

Red lotus incense fades on
The jeweled curtain. Autumn
Comes again. Gently I open
My silk dress and float alone

To the melody of "Ru Meng Lin"

Last night in the light rain as rough winds blew,
My drunken sleep left me no merrier.

To the tune of "Red Lips"

Lonely in my secluded chamber,
A thousand sorrows fill every inch

Although I've studied poetry for thirty years
I try to keep my mouth shut and avoid reputation.
Now who is this nosy gentleman talking about my poetry
Like Yang Ching-chih

The sun sets in molten gold.
The evening clouds form a jade disk.
Where is he?
Dense white mist envelops the willows.

Our boat starts at night
from the beach of Yen Kuang.

Great ships sail only for profit

To the tune of "Rinsing Silk Stream"

Saddened by the dying spring, I am too weary
to rearrange my hair.

To the tune of "Bodhisattva Aliens"

Soft breezes, mild sunshine,
spring is still young.

To the tune of "Rinsing Silk Stream"

My courtyard is small, windows idle,
spring is getting old.

We shall not ask for the precious pearl of the Duke of Sui,
nor for the priceless jade disk of Master Ho.
We merely ask for the recent news of our homeland.
The Palace of Spiritual Illumination must be still there,

To the tune of "Intoxicated Under the Shadow of Flowers"

Light mists and heavy clouds,
melancholy the long dreary day.

The fragrance of the pink lotus
fails, the jade mat hints of autumn.
Softly I unfasten my silk cloak,
Who is sending a letter from

To the tune of "Song of Peace"

Year by year, in the snow,
I have often gathered plum flowers,

To the tune of "Happy Event Is Nigh"

The wind ceases; fallen flowers pile high.
Outside my screen, petals collect in heaps of red

Li Ching Chao Biography

She was born into a literary family and became an antiquarian, book collector, and calligrapher. Of her six original volumes of lyrics, only about 50 lyrics remain. In Stephen Owen's chapter, "The Snares of Memory," it concentrates on Li Ch'ing-Chao's Afterward to Records on Metal and Stone. He believes that Chao's account is filled with memories of her happy times in her married life and her tremendous bitterness toward her husband for the excessive value he placed on this material collection. Chao opens the afterward with a comparison of two men, Ch'ang-yu and Yuan-k'ai, deluded by the importance of their possessions. She refers to their love of collecting as "hoarding," as a "disease." Using this as a backdrop, a reader can understand Chao's ambivalent feelings toward her husband's love for his collection of the inscriptions and vessels. In relating their experience of collecting their treasures, Chao initially emphasizes the experience of sharing their passion for knowledge and beauty. She relates how Chao Te-fu brought home the rubbings and fruit and they would then sit together and munch on the fruit and admire his latest find. They would savor the treasure, the fruit, and their time together. One of the few works Chao mentions by name is the painting of peonies by Hsu Hsi. Yet this is the work they could not afford to purchase. Owen calls attention to the idea that by not acquiring this work, it is recorded in memory. The possessions they acquired are left unmentioned. As Chao records the details of their growing library and museum, she also records their losses. She must reduce the amount of meat in their meals and do away with all the "finery" in her dress. The result of her husband's passion for acquisition is that a "nervousness and anxiety" enters their life. Chao's resentment toward her husband's growing passion for acquiring material possessions is by now apparent. Owen details the importance of the Chinese inclusion and omission of the personal pronoun. By excluding the pronoun, Chao sometimes covers the different values she and her husband place on their growing collection. However, when she includes her comment, "I could not bear it," she leaves no doubt that her dedication to their pastime is more casual than is his. After Chao Te-fu dies, Li Ch'ing Chao experiences the dissolution of their treasure as their collection is burned and stolen. The transitory nature of possessions acquired on this earth is never more apparent. Li Ch'ing Chao ends her afterward much as she began, with the remembrance of their collection as a living experience. She speaks of how her husband would edit the collations and write a colophon. The importance for her is not to view their collection as possessions but to view them as events, similar to their eating the fruit as they used to look over their acquisitions. These actions serve to retain in her memory their love for each other and their love for knowledge and beauty.)

The Best Poem Of Li Ching Chao

A Morning Dream

This morning I dreamed I followed
Widely spaced bells, ringing in the wind,
And climbed through mists to rosy clouds.
I realized my destined affinity
With An Ch'i-sheng the ancient sage.
I met unexpectedly O Lu-hua
The heavenly maiden.

Together we saw lotus roots as big as boats.
Together we ate jujubes as huge as melons.
We were the guests of those on swaying lotus seats.
They spoke in splendid language,
Full of subtle meanings.
The argued with sharp words over paradoxes.
We drank tea brewed on living fire.

Although this might not help the Emperor to govern,
It is endless happiness.
The life of men could be like this.

Why did I have to return to my former home,
Wake up, dress, sit in meditation.
Cover my ears to shut out the disgusting racket.
My heart knows I can never see my dream come true.
At least I can remember
That world and sigh.

Li Ching Chao Comments

Glad to have entered the wonderful world of the lovely Li Ching Chao! A GREAT POET, from the days where the eastern spring brought to us, ignorant westerns, ARTISTS such are Saigyo, Shikibu and Li Po!

25 7 Reply
ching chong chang 17 December 2018

you have no ching chong

1 1 Reply
Deeznutz 11 January 2018

She is a terrible and absolutely rubbish poet.

4 8 Reply
Rajnish Manga 13 July 2017

I have read a couple of poems listed here. The simplicity and depth of expression of the poet instantly catch hold of the reader's attention with its immense beauty and impact. Whosoever has translated these poems also deserves to be complimented. Thank you PH.

3 2 Reply
Fabrizio Frosini 11 August 2016

Li Qingzhao (Chinese: 李清照; pinyin: Lǐ Qīngzhào; Wade-Giles romanization: Li Ch’ing-chao; her literary name was (hao) Yi’an Jushi, also called Li Yi’an - born 1084, Jinan, Shandong province, China — died after 1155, Jinhua, Zhejiang province) is considered the greatest poetess in Chinese history, whose work, though it survives only in fragments, continues to be as highly regarded as it was in her own day. Her father was a student of Su Shi. He had a large collection of books and Li was educated during her childhood. Before she got married, her poetry was already well known within elite circles. In 1101 she married Zhao Mingcheng, with whom she shared interests in art collection and epigraphy. They lived in present-day Shandong. When the Northern Song capital of Kaifeng fell in 1127 to the Jurchens during the Jin–Song wars, fighting took place in Shandong and their house was burned. Zhao died in 1129 en route to an official post. The death of her husband was a cruel stroke from which Li never recovered. It was then up to her to keep safe what was left of their collection. Li described her married life and the turmoil of her flight in an Afterword to her husband's posthumously published work, Jin shi lu. Her earlier poetry portrays her carefree days as a woman of high society, and is marked by its elegance.

19 2 Reply
Fabrizio Frosini 11 August 2016

Li Qingzhao produced seven volumes of essays and six volumes of poetry, but most of her work is lost except for some poetry fragments. She wrote primarily ci poetry, a song form. Her mastery of the metrical rules of the form was such that she produced one of the earliest known scholarly studies of ci. Her poetry is noted for its striking diction as well as for her focus on relating her personal experiences, giving her work more emotional intensity than that of her peers. Her poetic oeuvre reflects the dramas of her lifetime, with the earlier works marked by a carefree vitality and the pieces that she wrote after her husband’s death and her exile reflecting a sombre, grief-stricken tone.

21 3 Reply

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