Hoping to Receive 1

Li, Shang-yin  (812? A.D.-858 A.D.)

Hoping to receive a mica screen, the woman makes herself all the more charming.
At Phoenix City 2 after the winter ends, she dreads the shortness of spring nights.
By chance she married a man wearing a bag with a gold tortoise design 3.
His going to the morning court meeting disappoints the fragrant quilt.

1 This poem describes Li's disappointment about his position. He worked for someone else all his life and lacked the opportunity to develop his own talent. He entered his office early in the morning and left late in the evening. He did not have much time to write poetry. Therefore, the woman's attempt to charm her husband so that he will buy her a mica screen may represent Li's attempt to show his talent in order to gain a high-ranking position from the emperor so that he can realize his political dreams. The "fragrant quilt", which literally means "good married life", can be interpreted as his ambition to write poetry.

2 Phoenix City or Red Phoenix City symbolizes the capital of China. There is an old legend that the daughter of King Mu of Country Qin played the flute and attracted a phoenix to land at the former capital city, Xian-Yang.

3 In the Tang dynasty, the dress code in the emperor's court showed an official's rank. An official of first rank wore a bag with a gold tortoise design, a second-rank official showed a silver tortoise design, etc.