by Yu Li
O flickering candle! O wafting tumbleweed!
I wake from a dream like a reed.
I try to find the traces of the past,
But I regret nothing can last.
Heaven would not fulfill
My wish and will.
The running water passes by the bowers
Where we waited for moonbeams.
The slanting sun sheds light on houses strewn with flowers
Reflected in the streams.
Alone on the height I appear.
How can my sleeves not be wet with tear on tear!
Li Yu (Chinese: 李煜; c. 937– 15 August 978), before 961 known as Li Congjia (李從嘉), also known as Li Houzhu (李後主; literally "Last Ruler Li" or "Last Lord Li"), was the third ruler of the Southern Tang state during imperial China's Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. He reigned from 961 until 976, when he was captured by the invading Song Dynasty armies which annexed his kingdom. He died by poison on orders of Emperor Taizong of Song after 2 years essentially as an exiled prisoner.
Although an incompetent ruler, he was a representative lyric poet during his era, even to the extent of having been called the "first true master" of the ci form.