By / 07-29-2020 / (Chinese Social Sciences Today)

This is a frequent Chinese character, which often refers to the sky or heaven. It is also associated with weather and days. 

tiān liáng hǎo gè qiū 
Tian refers to “weather” and liang “cold.” Hao is known as “nice” and qiu is autumn. This is a term that is delivered in a cheerful tone: “What a nice chilly autumn day!” 
This is a line from a well-known poem by Xin Qiji (1140—1207), a poet and master soldier whose ci poetry is considered to be the best of the Southern Song Dynasty. “In my younger days, I had tasted only gladness,/ But loved to mount the top floor,/ But loved to mount the top floor,/ To write a song pretending sadness,/ And now I’ve tasted Sorrow’s flavors, bitter and sour,/ And can’t find a word,/ And can’t find a word,/ But merely say, ‘what a golden autumn hour!’ ” (trans. Lin Yutang) 
This poem was composed when Xin was living a peaceful but depressing life by the Dai Lake in Jiangxi Province after he was forced to resign from the court. Xin often traveled casually on the path to Bo Mountain, yet he didn’t enjoy the natural scenery because his ambitions—to avenge the dishonorable victory of the Jin over the Song—were not fulfilled. So he wrote this poem on a wall on his path to Bo Mountain. 
In the first half of the poem, Xin recalls his youth, a time when he hadn’t experienced true sadness—the young poet tries to behave like a profound thinker, climbing the stairs and hiding away, laboriously making poems about sadness. This comes across as a vivid depiction of a naive young man. This part of the poem contrasts sharply to the last half of the poem, a description of Xin’s current feelings. After years of hardship and dreams turned sour, he has nothing to say, except noticing a sign of the good weather on an autumn day. The last line seems to simply appreciate the weather, but it also conveys a sense of deep depression and helplessness. He can’t do anything to save his country from wars and chaos except to talk about weather, a self-mocking way to express his anger and grief. 
The reason why this poem is so touching may be that it reflects the feelings that many people have experienced. People who have experienced profound sadness usually don’t feel like speaking it out.