Saturday, 3 July 2010


Tang Dynasty Poem: 静夜思 [jìng yè sī]


床 前 明 月 光
chuáng qián míng yuè guāng

疑 是 地 上 霜
yí shì dì shàng shuāng

举 头 望 明 月
jǔ tóu wàng míng yuè

低 头 思 故 乡
dī tóu sī gù xiāng


Literal Translation:
The moon light shines brightly before my bed,
As if cold frost on the ground before me
Raising my eyes to gaze at the moon,
Bowing my head and think of home.

This poem was written by the famous Tang poet, Li Bai (701-762), who came from the region of China near Tianshui, Gansu province.

Modern Translation:
The poem depicts a quiet night leading to thoughts of homesickness. Using plain simple language in the poem, the poet vividly captures his feeling of homesickness. It illustrates the power of the nature to evoke deep, thought-provoking in people. The poem is very short – it only contains 20 words – yet it manages to depict simply, clearly and naturally time, environment, atmosphere and the subtle action by the character that shows his heartfelt longing... homesickness.

My After-Thought:
This is a very famous Tang poem that I learned when I was a child. Reading it really brings back childhood memories and feeling of homesickness... I think of my mum and I think of the famous Chinese song that uses this poem as lyrics. This poem expresses very well some of my feelings... although now I am too busy to allow myself a quiet night to dwell on any heartaches from being away from home.

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