Taoism & Confucianism in Li Po & Tu Fu's Poetry

Taoism and Confucianism have a few similarities but are very different. Although they both were ruling philosophies during the Tang Dynasty, their differences were noticeable in the poetry of the time. Through Li Po’s poem, Sitting Alone by Ching-thing Mountain, and through Tu Fu’s Spending the Night in a Tower by the River, we can see many of the characteristics of the two thought processes. Sitting Alone by Ching-t’ing Mountain by Li Po is a poem about being alone, but not being lonely.

Although he is alone in terms of not having other human companionship, the Taoist belief of there being life in everything gives him an outlook of being accompanied by the birds, clouds, and the mountain. Even though the “flocks of birds have flown high and away,” he is still upbeat about being there with his friend, Chinget’ing Mountain.

He is living in the moment and has a positive outlook on where he is that very moment.

He isn’t worried about other people, or being judged, or being afraid by himself, he is simply appreciating the beauty around him. I love the outlook that this poem has and gives me a very optimistic point of view on being alone. You can be alone and not be lonely. Tu Fu on the other hand is very lonely. The Confucian philosophy focuses a lot on the relationships that you have with other people which can explain why he feels so lonely when not surrounded by others that he has relationships with.

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He speaks about objects or things similar to how Li Po would notice things, but in a very different light. He uses phrases such as “lonely moon” and “a visible darkness” which have such a negative connotation. He seems so helpless, as depicted by his last line “I have no strength to right the universe.” Another reason this is such a bleak and forlorn poem is that Confucianism is focused on responsibility and control and so when he can’t do anything to fix the wars and strife going on, he feels like he has failed his belief system. It makes me feel desolate and helpless as well and I feel that ifl had lived during this time period, I would have been more inclined to follow the Taoist thought process rather than the Confucianist thoughts.

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Taoism & Confucianism in Li Po & Tu Fu's Poetry. (2022, Dec 16). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/poetry-in-taoism-and-confucianism-in-li-po-s-poem-sitting-alone-by-ching-t-ng-mountain-and-tu-fu-s-spending-the-night-in-a-tower-by-the-river/

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