Study Guide

A Poem of Changgan Summary

By Li Po (also known as Li Bai)

A Poem of Changgan Summary

The poem starts off with the speaker as a teeny-tot, hangin' outside her house and playing with flowers. Then, this little boy comes by on his toy horse, throwing green plums around (don't ask us why). And here we have the beginning of a beautiful love affair. This is the moment that the speaker meets her future-husband. How could she not be impressed by his toy bamboo horse? In this first stanza, as in the rest of the poem, the speaker addresses her sweetheart directly, referring to him as "you" as she describes the history of their relationship.

The second stanza skips forward into the speaker's teenage years. She may only be a teenager, but at fourteen she marries her sweetheart. (People got married way young back in those days. Can we imagine marrying our high school boyfriend, like, in high school? Weird, huh?) The speaker tells us that she's super-shy with her hubby at first; she can't even smile around him. But thankfully, with time, she grows into the relationship and gets comfortable enough to laugh around him. What's more, she realizes that she's head-over-heels in love. She'll wait forever for her hubby if she has to.

The newlyweds don't have much time to enjoy each other's company. Two years after she's married, our speaker has to watch her hubby depart on a long journey. Months go by, and her hubby still hasn't come back. She watches for him and waits and waits, the seasons change, and there's still no sign of him. Where are you, hubby?

In the last stanza, the speaker tells her hubby to send her a message when he's on his way home. She tells him she'll come and meet him on his way back. But of course, she has no idea when, or even whether, he'll ever be back—sniff.