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Chinese Classical Poem 0117 -- Lyric 003(By Li Yu) & Shirley Created Music-0084-01: Xiangjian Huan -- Joy at Meeting June 6, 2010


Listen to Shirley Singing the Poem in English Nov 18, 2007
Listen to Shirley Singing the Poem in Chinese Nov 18, 2007

Listen to Shirley Explaining the Lyric & Follow Shirley to Read It

Learn the Meaning of the Poem with Shirley Together

See Shirley's Painting for the Lyric Jan 5, 2012
See Shirley Created   Calligraphy & Painting for the Lyric June 5, 2010
See Shirley Created Picture for the Lyric July 19, 2008

Hi, friends, when you see the title of this lyric poem Xiang Jian Huan ? Joy at Meeting by Li Yu ( 937 - 978). Maybe you would like think this is a lyric to express a happy feeling. No, in fact, it expresses a sad feeling -- how a failed and be captive emperor to miss his lost country, land and people.

As I have told you, the ancient Chinese poems and lyrics could be sung. The title Xiang Jian Huan ? Joy at Meeting is just the name of the tune to which ci (Lyric) poem was composed.

The names of the tunes are the forms and regulations of Chinese lyric poetry ? how many words, how many lines, what are the tones and the rhymes and so on in the lyrics.

There are more than 1000 tunes of the Chinese lyric poems.

Many of them related to the content when they were created at the first time, along with the time, the relationship between the original name and the content has gotten loose and loose, and even no any relationship at all. Just use the tune to compose and write. This lyric’s meaning and its name of the tune does not have any relationship. Their meaning is opposite.

This lyric is famous for it has expressed the sorrow feeling of parting with a very high language skill.

As the last ruler of the Southern Tang, Li Yu was on the position of emperor for 15 years. In 975, his capital --   Jinling (today’s Nanjing) was occupied by the army of the Song Dynasty and he himself was captive and be poisoned in 978.

He was a bad monarch but a great artist of lyric poetry and painting.

After he lost his country and became a captive, he created his best lyrics which represent the highest achievement of the lyric poets of that period. His lyric poetry’s language clean and clear, feeling was sad and direct, broke through his times’ general style and push the lyrics to be developed forward.

This is one of the best lyrics describing the sorrow of separation, loneliness and a complex feeling.

The most famous lines of the lyric "Jian Bu Duan, Li Hai Luo, Shi Li Chou -- Cannot be cut to sever, Cannot be combed clear, It is the grief of parting. " -- Express the nonfigurative human feeling with a very visual language. Until now, it has been very famous and popular in Chinese language. :-)

I have created a piece of music to match it and sang it in English and Chinese in 2007. Created some paintings in 2008 and 2010 to match it.

I do wish that my effort will be some help of you to know more about Chinese culture and to improve your Chinese language.


Silent, I climb the west tower alone,
to see the moon like hook.
Lonesome phoenix tree in the deep yard
is locked in the autumn (fall).

Can’t be cut to sever,
Can’t be combed clear,
It is the grief of parting.
An unspeakable taste is in my heart.

Attaching: Translation by 100 Tang & Song C/Poems by Xu Yuanchong:

Silent, I climb the Western Tower alone,
And see the hook-like moon.
Parasol-trees lonesome and drear
Lock in the courtyard autumn clear.

Cut, it won’t sever,
Be ruled, ’twill never.
What sorrow ’tis to part!
It’s an unspeakable taste in the heart.


Note: You can clink any Chinese Character to open the New Character Board and to see its Chinese pinyin, meaning, pronunciation and follow me to read them, also, you can hit the links over to enter the Painting Column, to read my painting for the poem .






If you have any questions, comments and suggestions, please write to , or, You are welcomed.

Shirley ZhangJune 6, 2010/Sun, Nov 18, 2007