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Poet’s conviction

Posted December. 24, 2021 07:43,   

Updated December. 24, 2021 07:43


The unmelted snow on the ridge of mountains along with clouds looks beautiful. The sunset colors shine across the forest with pleasant weather, making the winter of Chang'an ever more refreshing. However, relaxing time to look at the unmelted snow is short-lived, and the atmosphere changes suddenly as the day gets darker. With cold temperature comes down, the bright scene of beautiful mountains, the snow met with clouds, and the brightening top of the mountain change. Why did the poet describe such a sudden change of a scene? He seemed to be aiming for a rhetorical effect to emphasize the depth of his agony by highlighting a beautiful scene.

The poem was a trial poem for a test. When it comes to eval‎uating a trial poem, how well it follows the pre-set rules was important, unlike regular poems that value writers’ distinctive personalities. The topic of a poem was not decided by a poet either and a poet was supposed to meet 60 characters. Unlike Rainer Maria Rilke’s quote that says, ‘Find out the reason that commands you to write,’ such a deep inspiration was not important. This is why there has been no great trial poem despite its history of over 1,000 years.

Zu Yong disregarded strict rules and finished his trial poem in 20 characters. A grader suggested following the trial poem’s rules, but he did not bend his will. He stuck to his conviction that there was no reason to add unnecessary comments as he created his poem based on his poetic inspiration. He failed the test, of course. However, the poem was recognized for its value and named as the only trial poem included in Tang dynasty's 300 best poems.