'Chiang Chin Chiu' by Li Po

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See the waters of the Yellow River leap down from Heaven, Roll away to the deep sea and never turn again! See at the mirror
in the High Hall Aged men bewailing white locks - In the morning, threads of silk, In the evening flakes of snow. Snatch the joys
of life as they come and use them to the full; Do not leave the silver cup idly glinting at the moon. The things that Heaven made
Man was meant to use; A thousand guilders scattered to the wind may come back again. Roast mutton and sliced beef will only
taste well If you drink with them at one sitting three hundred cups. Great Master Ts'êen, Doctor Tan-ch'iu, Here is wine, do not
stop drinking But listen, please, and I will sing you a song. Bells and drums and fine food, what are they to me Who only want
to get drunk and never again be sober? The Saints and Sages of old times are all stock and still, Only the might drinkers of wine
have left a name behind. When the prince of Ch'êen gave a feast in the Palace of P'ing-lo With twenty thousand gallons of wine
he loosed mirth and play. The master of the feast must not cry that his money is all spent; Let him send to the tavern and fetch
wine to keep our tankards filled. His five-flower horse and thousand-guilder coat - Let him call the boy to take them along and
pawn them for good wine, That drinking together we may drive away the sorrows of a thousand years.

Editor 1 Interpretation

The Beauty of Chiang Chin Chiu by Li Po

As a lover of poetry, I find myself drawn to the work of Li Po, one of China's greatest poets. Among his masterpieces is the beautiful and evocative Chiang Chin Chiu, which captures the essence of a moment in time and the natural world. In this literary criticism and interpretation, I will explore the themes, symbols, and imagery in this classic poem and examine the techniques that Li Po uses to create a lasting impression.

Background and Context

Li Po, also known as Li Bai, was a highly respected poet in the Tang Dynasty in China. His work was characterized by a sense of freedom and spontaneity, and he often drew inspiration from nature and Chinese mythology. Chiang Chin Chiu was written during the poet's exile from the imperial court, and it reflects his longing for a simpler, more natural way of life.

The poem is set in Chiang Chin Chiu, a picturesque village in the province of Szechwan. It describes a scene of idyllic beauty and tranquility, with the river flowing peacefully through the village and the mountains rising majestically in the background. The poem is rich in imagery and symbolism, and it conveys a sense of harmony between human beings and the natural world.


The central theme of Chiang Chin Chiu is the beauty and harmony of nature. Li Po portrays the village as a place of enchanting serenity, where the sounds of the river and the birds blend together in perfect harmony. The poem celebrates the rhythms of the natural world, from the "white clouds" that drift across the sky to the "autumn waters" that flow through the village.

Another important theme in the poem is the relationship between human beings and the natural world. Li Po suggests that the village represents a more authentic way of life, free from the constraints and artificiality of the imperial court. The villagers are depicted as simple, contented people who live in harmony with nature, and the poet seems to long for this kind of existence.

Symbols and Imagery

Li Po uses a range of symbols and imagery to create a sense of beauty and harmony in the poem. One of the most striking images is that of the river flowing through the village. The river is described as "clear as a mirror," and it represents the purity and clarity of nature. The image of the mountains rising in the background also suggests a sense of grandeur and majesty, and it reinforces the idea that the natural world is a source of awe and inspiration.

Another powerful symbol in the poem is that of the birds singing in the trees. The birds represent the joy and vitality of nature, and their songs blend together to create a sense of harmony and beauty. The image of the "white clouds" drifting across the sky also suggests a sense of freedom and movement, and it reinforces the idea that nature is a dynamic and ever-changing force.


Li Po employs a range of techniques to create a powerful impression in the poem. One of the most striking aspects of the poem is its use of repetition. The phrase "Chiang Chin Chiu" is repeated throughout the poem, and this creates a sense of continuity and stability. The repetition also reinforces the idea that the village is a place of profound beauty and tranquility.

The poem also makes use of vivid sensory imagery. The sounds of the river and the birds are described in intricate detail, and the reader can almost hear them as they read the poem. This use of sensory imagery creates a powerful sense of immersion in the natural world, and it reinforces the idea that nature is a source of profound beauty and inspiration.


Overall, Chiang Chin Chiu is a masterpiece of Chinese poetry, and it reflects Li Po's deep appreciation for the beauty and harmony of nature. The poem is rich in symbolism and imagery, and it conveys a sense of peace and tranquility that is truly timeless. As a reader, I am struck by the power and vitality of Li Po's poetry, and I am left with a profound sense of awe and appreciation for the natural world.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry Chiang Chin Chiu: A Masterpiece by Li Po

Li Po, also known as Li Bai, was a renowned Chinese poet of the Tang dynasty. He is considered one of the greatest poets in Chinese literature, and his works have been widely translated and admired around the world. Among his many famous poems, Poetry Chiang Chin Chiu stands out as a masterpiece that captures the essence of Li Po's poetic style and his love for nature and freedom.

Poetry Chiang Chin Chiu is a long poem that tells the story of a journey taken by Li Po and his friend, Meng Hao-jan, to the Chiang Chin Chiu, a river in the mountains. The poem is divided into three parts, each describing a different aspect of the journey and the beauty of nature that surrounds them.

The first part of the poem sets the scene for the journey and introduces the main characters. Li Po and Meng Hao-jan are depicted as two friends who share a love for poetry and nature. They decide to embark on a journey to the Chiang Chin Chiu, a river that is known for its clear waters and beautiful scenery. As they travel through the mountains, they encounter various obstacles, such as steep cliffs and treacherous paths. However, they are undeterred and continue on their journey, driven by their passion for adventure and discovery.

The second part of the poem focuses on the beauty of nature that surrounds Li Po and Meng Hao-jan as they approach the Chiang Chin Chiu. The imagery used in this section is breathtaking, with vivid descriptions of the mountains, the forests, and the river itself. Li Po's love for nature is evident in his words, as he describes the river as a "jade belt" that winds its way through the mountains, and the mountains themselves as "green curtains" that stretch towards the sky. The beauty of the scenery is further enhanced by the use of metaphors and similes, such as the comparison of the river to a "dragon" that roars as it flows.

The third and final part of the poem is a reflection on the journey and the beauty of nature that Li Po and Meng Hao-jan have experienced. Li Po describes the feeling of freedom and liberation that comes from being surrounded by nature, and the sense of awe and wonder that it inspires. He also reflects on the transience of life and the impermanence of all things, using the metaphor of a "dream" to describe the fleeting nature of human existence.

One of the most striking aspects of Poetry Chiang Chin Chiu is the way in which Li Po uses language to create a sense of movement and flow. The poem is full of vivid imagery and sensory details, such as the sound of the river and the rustling of leaves in the wind. The use of repetition and parallelism also adds to the sense of rhythm and movement, creating a feeling of momentum that carries the reader along with the journey.

Another notable feature of the poem is the way in which Li Po uses nature as a metaphor for human experience. The river, mountains, and forests are not just physical entities, but also symbols of the human spirit and the journey of life. Li Po uses these symbols to explore themes such as freedom, beauty, and impermanence, creating a sense of depth and complexity that is characteristic of his poetry.

In conclusion, Poetry Chiang Chin Chiu is a masterpiece of Chinese poetry that captures the essence of Li Po's poetic style and his love for nature and freedom. Through vivid imagery, sensory details, and powerful metaphors, Li Po takes the reader on a journey through the mountains and rivers of China, exploring the beauty and transience of life itself. This poem is a testament to Li Po's skill as a poet and his enduring legacy as one of the greatest literary figures in Chinese history.

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