Chang-e 1

Li, Shang-yin (812? A.D.-858 A.D.)

Through a mica 2 screen the image of candlelight appears deep.
The Milky Way is slowly setting and the morning stars disappear with the sunrise.
Chang-e should regret that she stole the elixir of life.
Although she is facing a green sea and a blue sky, her heart is as lonely as the night.

1 According to Chinese mythology, Chang-e was the wife of an archer, Yi, during Emperor Yao's reign. Yi was humble and honest when he was young. It was very hot at that time because the sky had ten suns. Yi helped people by shooting down nine of them. After accomplishing this great feat, he became proud and evil. Later, he went to the Mother of the Heavens to acquire the elixir of life. Chang-e would not allow an evil person to live forever, so she stole the elixir and swallowed it. Then she flew to the moon and lived there forever.
    There are many interpretations for this poem. Some say the life of gods is not worthy of admiration. One should face reality, and should not believe ghosts or gods and not pursue eternal life. Others say it expresses his frustration from advancing his political career because his low-ranking positions forced him to move from place to place similar to Chang-e's experience. Some say this poem is a eulogy for Li's wife. others say Li wrote this poem to blame his lover for leaving him. Still others say it expresses Li's sympathy for the conflict between the religious life and the emotional life of a Taoist nun.

2 Mica is an ore rich in elasticity. Its crystal is transparent and full of luster. Thin mica pieces can be used to decorate a screen.