Year: 
2018

As Fall Begins, I Look Within

Li Yi (746-829)
 
 
Ten thousand fears have come to fix my life,
As on this mirrored shore I gaze uneased—
Here all I see has turned my temples white
And now it’s time to face the autumn breeze.
 
 
Chinese
 
立秋前一日覽鏡
李益
 
萬事銷身外
生涯在鏡中
唯將滿鬢雪
明日對秋風
Pronunciation
 
Lì Qiū Qián Yī Rì Lǎn Jìng
Lǐ Yì
 
Wàn shì xiāo shēn wài
Shēng yá zài jìng zhōng
Wéi jiāng mǎn bìn xuě
Míng rì duì qiū fēng
 
 
Transliteration and Notes
 
Start Autumn Ahead One Day Look-At Mirror
 
Ten-thousand things fasten body outside
Life shore at mirror within
Only will fill temple-hair snow
Tomorrow day face autumn wind
 
     “Start Autumn” is the beginning of autumn. “Ten-thousand things” means “all things.” “Body” here can mean one’s morality and conduct, as in one’s self or essence. “Life shore” means “one’s career” or “the way one lives one’s life.” “Snow” can mean “looks like snow” so that “temple-hair snow” means “white temples,” suggesting anxiety or age.  
     Li Yi was a poet of the Tang Dynasty. He served as a minor regional official and accountant, but failed to be promoted to a higher position or transferred to the capital. He was known to be strict with his family, not allowing his wife public contact, and frequently criticized other poets of his time. As a result, he was widely disliked, which may have contributed to his lack of career success. Nonetheless, he was famous for writing beautiful quatrains, which gained favor with the emperor, and three of his poems were included in the 300 Tang Poems anthology.

Author of original: 
Li Yi
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