Li Bai

Li Bai (701-762), considered one of China’s greatest poets alongside Du Fu, lived during the Tang Dynasty’s golden age of poetry. Known for his vivid imagery and deep emotion, Li Bai’s work spans about 1,000 poems on themes like nature, friendship, and existential reflections. Celebrated for his spontaneous verse and exploration of Taoist ideals, Li Bai’s poetry also deeply admires the natural world and ancient times, often challenging life’s ordinary constraints. His depiction of China’s landscapes combines natural beauty with personal sentiment. Earning the title ‘Poetry Immortal,’ Li Bai’s influential poetry is globally admired for its artistic and philosophical depth.


Life of Li Bai

His life, like a journey, can be divided into eight chapters. From the year 701 to the winter of 762, it tells the tale of a young man who ventured forth from his homeland, sought his place in the world, faced the trials of war and suffering, sought refuge in poetry as his only solace, before finally succumbing to his fate.

The first stage of his life is the gifted child (701-723), during this stage, Li Bai has demonstrated his talents with his many writing and poems.

At the the age of 24, carrying his sword, Li Bai left his hometown/country and started his journey in the world. It is often seen as his second stage in life, the embarking on a journey abroad (724-729), as his years of knowledge accumulation is combining with his life adventure. It was also around this time, he met his dear friend and idol, 孟浩然.

The third stage of his life, the wandering (730-733), took place during his time trying to find his place in the society, yet failing to achieve his desired outcome.

At the age of 33, he has seemingly found what he wants in life, thereby, entering the fourth stage, the Ascending (734-741). During this time, he was actively trying to get his work seen by the higher ranking people in the palace, networking his way into the royals.

At the fifth stage, The Triumph(742-743), he had reached the top of the mountain, having his work seen and much appraised by the then emperor, he was invited a role in the palace to server the emperor. It was said during this time, he was very much favored by the emperor over any other officials then. This has also resulted to jealousy among the peers. However, a beast will always belong to the wild, however beautiful the palace might be. After just one year, he was tired of the life in the palace and eventually got dismissed.

The sixth stage of his life came when he met his dear friend Du Fu, another prominent figure in the history of classical poetry. During the year they’ve met, they sang, they wrote, they travelled, and they explored the world. Eventually, they depart in year 745, it was the last time they ever seen each other.

The seventh stage of his life might have been the worst, as the infamous war, the An Lushan Rebellion(安史之亂), broke out during this time, he fled to the south yet was eventually captured but escaped. Having suffered through many unimaginable things, it also changed his style of writing.

The final stage of his life was his end scene. He handed his last piece of writing to this friend, titled “The End Scene”

The mighty roc takes wing and soars,
Through all the realms, his strength endures.
He shakes the heavens with his might,
And in the wind, his spirit takes flight.

To the East he journeys on and on,
With my sleeve grasped tight, he is gone.
Let future generations hear my tale,
Of Confucius’ passing, let none be pale.

For though he’s gone, his legacy will live,
Through those inspired, his spirit will give.
Who will grieve and weep for my death,
When all that’s left is my final breath?

Moonlit Night
To Li Bai
A view of Tai Shan
March of the Troops and Chariots
Encounter of Lee in Jiangnan
Spring Longing
Melancholy Flute's Echo
Joyous Drizzle on a Spring Night
Serene Harmony
A Dawn Departure in the City of Bai Di
A Farewell to Meng in the Yellow Crane Tower
The Daunting Route of Shu
Farewell to a friend
Lu Mountain's Silver Ribboned Fall
Drinking Alone Under the Moon
Quiet Night Thoughts
East of Town
Etched in Jinling
The Cicada
A Trying Journey I of III
Summit Soaring, Distant Vistas Adoring
Drink Up