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Su Shi’s thoughtfulness

Posted July. 16, 2021 07:34,   

Updated July. 16, 2021 07:34


The poem was collaboratively written by three poets. Emperor Wenzong of Tang wrote the first two lines and asked his retainers to add two more lines. Among the phrases proposed by retainers, the emperor chose Liu Gongquan’s, which read “A warm breeze from the south blows the cool gentle wind to a royal palace.” The emperor was pleased with the phrase, as Gongquan said it must be the cool gentle wind that explained why the emperor liked summer, which is often disliked by others for hot weather. It depicts a mid-summer scene in the palace.

Su Shi later added one more phrase to the poet. The poem created by Emperor Wenzong and Liu Gongquan was criticized for simply being beautiful and lacking lessons. Su Shi added the fourth phrase. People tend to forget the joys and sorrows in the past and turn away from others when their status or situation changes. Su Shi talked of a hope that the cool breeze enjoyed by those at the royal palace is shared by everybody in the world. It reveals his thoughtfulness as a governor. Meanwhile, some criticize the phrase added by Su Shi for being unnecessary. It is not wrong but was added somewhat artificially, which undermines the tranquility of the original poem.