Li Zhiyi Poem: Song of Divination – 李之仪《卜算子·我住长江头》





Song of Divination

Li Zhiyi
I live upstream and you downstream.
From night to night of you I dream.
Unlike the stream you’re not in view,
Though we both drink from River Blue.

Where will the water no more flow?
When will my grief no longer grow?
I wish your heart would be like mine,
Then not in vain for you I pine.

This lyric compares a woman’s lovesickness with the Blue River.


The work of Li Zhiyi, a lyricist of the Song Dynasty, is selected as one of the Three Hundred Song Lyrics. The first piece is about the distance between the two sides and the longing for each other. It uses the river to write about the spatial barrier and the connection between the two sides, which is profound in its simplicity. The next piece is about the heroine’s persistent pursuit of love and her ardent expectations. The river water is a metaphor for the continuous longing for each other, and finally, the love of the other party is expected, and the sincere love is poured out by the mouth. The whole lyric takes the Yangtze River water as the lyrical clue, the language is as clear as words, the sentences are compounded and looped, the feelings are deep and sincere, the deep flavor of folk songs, but also has the novelty of the literati’s words, reflecting the spirit and elegance, exquisite crystal style and spirit.

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