Why did the poet try to sweep the shadow of the flowers up? Maybe it was because it was not sweet aromatic flowers that covered a grandiose palace but was chilly shadows. It could not be that the poet tired the boy out because he did not know it was useless to keep brushing the place. The shadow might be gone briefly when the sun goes down, but it will reappear as the bright moon rises. Many poets in the following generations wondered where the idea that flower shadows could be brushed away came from.
Some said it was the poet’s play on words when the poet was leisurely passing the time, observing the movements of the shadows of the flowers. Some said the shadows of the flowers are the metaphor for the poet’s political adversary. This view is compelling, given the history that the poet had been ousted by the political faction in support of Wang Anshi’s New Policies and lived in the Southern region for a long time.
The poet might have been slightly sarcastic by comparing a group of untrustworthy people walking around the splendid palace day and night and clouding the judgment of others. Some say the poet wanted to embody a profound truth of life. All things in the world inevitably carry shads, like a cause and effect, and they are not to be judged by standards such as likes and dislikes, good and evil, and right and wrong. Therefore, do not fret over the shadows that can neither be removed nor be swept up forever by such standards. The poet’s intention might recommend the readers accept reality as is, without fluctuating between joy and grief by ever-changing worldly conditions.