Li Qingzhao

Li Qingzhao the famous Chinese poetess born in Jinan, Shandong Province, lived from 1084 to 1151 during the Song Dynasty. Her early works are carefree poems of nature and the adventures of a young girl. After wars forced her to flee her homes numerous times and she lost her husband, her works turned sad and lonely.

At one time she lived in what is now Bai Mai Springs Park.

Grandpa by famous calligraphy at Bai Mai

The Stream Pavilion by Li Qing Zhao:

I often recall the Stream Pavilion at sunset
Deeply intoxicated we did not know the way home
Enthusiasm waned as our boat was late returning
Misled we entered a place thick with lotus flowers
Struggle to cross the water, struggle to cross the water
We startled a shore of gulls and egrets


Plum Blossoms
Already, out of the snow,
You bring news that Spring is here,
Cold plum blossoms, adorning
The glossy jasper branches,
Perfumed faces half showing,
Gracefully fluttering in the middle of the courtyard.
I come, my jade body fresh from the bath,
Newly powdered and rouged.
Even Heaven shares our joy,
Making the bright moon shine splendid on your curving flesh.
Let us celebrate with thick green wine in gold cups.
I will not refuse to get drunk
For this flower cannot be compared to other flowers.



'A Galaxy of Beauties'

Sunny breezes, warm drizzle
Take the chill off the air
As the thaw sets in.
Willow sprouts like a girl's eyes,
Plum blossoms rosy-cheeked:
Already one feels the heart of spring stirring.


'Spring at Wu Ling'

I hear 'Twin Brooks' is still sweet
With the breath of spring.
How I'd, too, love to go for a row,
On a tiny skiff.
But I fear at 'Twin Brooks'
My grasshopper of a boat
Wouldn't be able to bear
Such a load of grief.


'Admiring Lotuses'

Beautiful beyond words
Are these verdant hills and sparkling streams
That endear themselves to me so warmly.
Dozing egrets and gulls on the sand
Do not so much as turn their heads,
As if they, too, resent my going away so early.


The cry of returning wild geese has stopped;
evening clouds look azure.
Snow is falling outside the windows,
smoke from the chimney rises straight upward.
Under the candle-light glistens the phoenix hairpin,
On which the man-shaped ornament is light.*
The sounding horn announces the approach of daybreak;
Stars are driven back by the light of early dawn.
It is difficult to enjoy spring flowers.
The west wind is still too cold.


In her lifetime Li Qingzhao is said to have compiled a book entitled Shu Yu Ci (Jade Rinsing Ci) in several volumes comprising most of her ci-poems written during the two periods of her eventful life (i.e. before and after the fall of the Northern Song in 1127). But all we now have of her ci-poems number only about seventy-eight.


Link to her works (in Chinese )