Chinese Readings -

On The Stork Tower

On The Stork Tower (登鹳雀楼) was composed by Wang Zhihuan (王之涣) to describe what the poet sees and feels about when he ascends the Stork Tower.

In the first two lines, he shifts his eyes from the sunset beyond the mountains to the Yellow River, which flows out of sight eastwards towards the sea. Then, he writes the famous lines “欲穷千里目,更上一层楼。(To see a thousand mile view, go up another floor.)” which blends landscape, emotion and philosophical thinking in the short verse. 

The last line, “更上一层楼”, is now a general idiom for taking things up a level, a bit like the colloquial “Cheer Up!” or “Add Oil!”.

Learning Video

Additional Notes

登鹳雀楼 On The Stork Tower


bái rì yī shān jǐn,

The white sun sets behind the mountains,


huáng hé rù hǎi liú。

and the Yellow River flows into the sea.


yù qióng qiān lǐ mù,

To see a thousand mile view,


gèng shàng yì céng lóu。

go up another floor.


Notes: To help better understand the poem, here to supplement and explain some key vocabularies:

  • “鹳雀楼 (guàn què lóu)” is a tower in Shanxi province, with three floors, situated between mountains and the Yellow River.

  • “穷 (qióng)” in the third line refers to “尽 (jǐn) ” which means “furthest”.