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Observations placeholder

Hockney, David - Li Shangyin - 2 Swallow terrace, Summer



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Li Shangyin (c. 813–858) was a Chinese poet of the late Tang Dynasty, born in Henei (now Qinyang, Henan).  He was much admired and "rediscovered" in the 20th century by the young Chinese writers for the imagist quality of his poems. The painting is David Hockney's.

2 Summer

Window-screens of rain in front: too much grief to roll them up:
and behind the house, trees in bloom cast pools of dark shadow:

when her home landscape is like the underworld’s Yellow Springs,
what good is a stonethorn crossbow for a traveler past midnight:

a gauze fan calls down winds from the gate of heaven, whirlpools
churn on gossamer bed-curtains and kingfisher-green screens:

in isolate depths of quiet, a nightjar scatters dead passion’s blood:
how many nights have malarial blossoms opened on cotton trees:

shadows drift the moon’s Cinnamon Palace, radiance beyond reach:
enticing mists, broken orchids, and sweet words in faint whispers:

you long for the Star River to come pouring down into your heart
yet live without Weaver-Girl to watch over meetings and partings:

rivers that flow murky and clear ought to share a single source,
but still, Great-Benefit River flows clear and the Yellow murky:

how can gossamer mist billow into dusk-gold skirts of a goddess,
how touch her curtained cloud-carriage calling, O lovely wonder?


The source of the experience

Hockney, David

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps