To One Unnamed
It’s difficult for us to meet and hard to part;
The east wind is too weak to revive flowers dead.
Spring silkworm till its death spins silk from love-sick heart;
A candle but when burned out has no tears to shed.
At dawn I’m grieved to think your mirrored hair turns grey;
At night you would feel cold while I croon by moonlight.
To the three fairy hills it is not a long way.
Would the blue birds oft fly to see you on the height?
The poet writes this poem for his unnamed lover compared to a fairy living in the three mountains on the sea where only the mythical blue birds could bring messages.
“To One Unnamed” is a love poem written by Li Shangyin in the Tang Dynasty on the theme of parting between a man and a woman. The first couplet of this poem is a deep lament of extreme longing, saying that seeing each other is rare and parting is even more difficult, and then the sorrowful and miserable atmosphere is rendered by the weakness of the east wind and the waning flowers. The last couplet says that they are not far apart, but it is difficult to see each other and communicate with each other, so they hope that someone can deliver messages and greetings on their behalf. The whole poem uses the word “farewell” as the eye of the poem, which is indistinct and deep without being obscure, gorgeous but natural, and poignant without losing its beauty.