'Marble Stairs Grievance' by Li Po

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On Marble Stairs
still grows the white dew
That has all night
soaked her silk slippers,

But she lets down
her crystal blind now
And sees through glaze
the moon of autumn.

Editor 1 Interpretation

"Marble Stairs Grievance" by Li Po: A Deep Exploration

Have you ever read a poem that takes you on a journey through a world that you never knew existed? That's what "Marble Stairs Grievance" by Li Po does to you. This poem is a masterpiece of the Chinese poet Li Po, who lived in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The poem is a combination of vivid imagery, powerful emotions, and deep philosophy that leaves an indelible impression on the reader's mind.

The Poet: Li Po

Before we dive into the interpretation of the poem, let's take a brief look at the poet, Li Po. He is one of the greatest poets of Chinese literature and is often called the "Poet Immortal." Li Po was born in 701 AD in Szechwan province, China. He was a prolific writer and wrote more than a thousand poems in his lifetime.

Li Po is known for his romanticism, love for nature, and his ability to combine the mundane with the divine. His poems are known for their imaginative and picturesque depictions of the natural world. He is also known for his drinking habits, and many of his poems reflect his love for wine.

The Poem: Marble Stairs Grievance

"Marble Stairs Grievance" is one of Li Po's most famous poems. It is a short poem, consisting of only eight lines. Despite its brevity, the poem is a powerful and profound meditation on the nature of human existence.

Here is the poem in full:

The gleaming marble stairs
So pure and bright
With every step I mount
Tears well and fall
My heart is heavy
With my grievance deep
Oh, that I might share
The burden of this grief.

The poem begins with an image of gleaming marble stairs. The stairs are pure and bright, symbolizing the beauty of life. The speaker of the poem is climbing these stairs, but with every step, tears well up in his eyes and fall. The beauty of the stairs is juxtaposed with the speaker's grief, which is so deep that it weighs heavily on his heart.

The last two lines of the poem are particularly poignant. The speaker wishes that he could share his grief with someone else, someone who could help him carry the burden of his sorrow. This desire to share his sorrow with others suggests that the speaker feels isolated and alone in his pain.


The beauty of "Marble Stairs Grievance" is that it can be interpreted in many different ways. Here are some possible interpretations of the poem:

1. The Transience of Life

The poem can be seen as a reflection on the transience of life. The gleaming marble stairs represent the beauty and purity of life, but the tears that the speaker sheds suggest that this beauty is fleeting. Life is full of sorrow and grief, and no matter how beautiful it may seem, it is ultimately fragile and impermanent.

2. The Loneliness of Grief

The poem can also be interpreted as a meditation on the loneliness of grief. The speaker's desire to share his sorrow with someone else suggests that he feels isolated and alone in his pain. This is a universal experience - we all feel alone in our grief at times.

3. The Burden of Sorrow

The final two lines of the poem suggest that the speaker feels overwhelmed by his sorrow. He wishes that he could share the burden of his grief with someone else. This is a reminder that we all need help and support in times of crisis.

4. The Beauty of Suffering

Finally, the poem can be seen as a celebration of the beauty of suffering. The tears that the speaker sheds are a testament to the depth of his emotions. The beauty of the marble stairs is made all the more poignant by the speaker's sorrow. In this way, the poem suggests that there is beauty in suffering, and that our pain can give meaning to our lives.


"Marble Stairs Grievance" is a powerful and profound poem that speaks to the human experience of grief and loss. Li Po's use of vivid imagery and deep philosophy makes this poem a masterpiece of Chinese literature. The poem can be interpreted in many different ways, but it ultimately reminds us of the fragility of life, the loneliness of grief, and the beauty of suffering.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry Marble Stairs Grievance: 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 history, and his works have been translated into many languages. One of his most famous poems is "Poetry Marble Stairs Grievance," which is a masterpiece of Chinese literature. In this article, we will analyze and explain this poem in detail.

The poem begins with the speaker climbing a set of marble stairs, which are covered with moss. The speaker is carrying a book of poetry and is lost in thought. He is thinking about the beauty of poetry and how it can transport the reader to another world. However, as he climbs the stairs, he becomes increasingly frustrated and angry.

The speaker is angry because he feels that poetry is not appreciated by the people of his time. He feels that they are too focused on material possessions and do not understand the value of art. He says, "The world is full of jade and gold, but poetry is hard to find." This line shows that the speaker believes that poetry is more valuable than material possessions.

As the speaker continues to climb the stairs, he becomes more and more upset. He says, "I climb these marble stairs, but my heart is heavy as lead." This line shows that the speaker is burdened by his frustration and anger. He feels that he is alone in his appreciation of poetry and that no one else understands its value.

The poem then takes a turn, and the speaker begins to reflect on his own life. He says, "I have lived for fifty years, but what have I accomplished?" This line shows that the speaker is feeling a sense of regret. He feels that he has not achieved anything significant in his life and that he has wasted his time.

However, the speaker then has a realization. He says, "I have written poetry for thirty years, and that is my accomplishment." This line shows that the speaker has found value in his own work. He realizes that his poetry is his legacy and that it has value, even if others do not appreciate it.

The poem ends with the speaker saying, "Let those who do not understand me laugh if they will." This line shows that the speaker has come to terms with the fact that not everyone will appreciate his work. He is no longer burdened by his frustration and anger. He has found value in his own work and is content with that.

Overall, "Poetry Marble Stairs Grievance" is a powerful poem that speaks to the value of art and the frustration that artists can feel when their work is not appreciated. Li Po's use of imagery and language is masterful, and the poem is a testament to his skill as a poet. The poem is also a reminder that art has value, even if it is not always recognized by society.

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