Up to an Amusement Park on a Plateau1

Li, Shang-yin (812?-858 CE)

Toward evening I was melancholy,
So I rode a carriage up to an amusement park on an ancient plateau.
The sunset was unimaginably wonderful
Despite the imminent darkness.


1 There are three popular interpretations of this poem. The first interpretation says that the poet is lamenting the swift passage of time and the brief duration of his own sunset years. The second says that the poet is lamenting his stunted career. It is known that Li's great talent was never fully utilized by the government. Mourning the death of Li, Jue Cui wrote, "In vain Li harbored a talent which was able to ride above the clouds./ He never realized his political dreams." The third interpretation says that the poet was worrying about the corrupt government. He yearned for the glory of the early Tang dynasty and was worried that the corruption during his time would soon end the Tang dynasty.