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Chinese poem illustration: 滁州西涧/ The West Creek of Chuzhou by Wei Yingwu

滁州西涧

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Embedding the most profound feeling into simple and plain words(寄至味于淡泊, ), this is the conclusion by Su Shi (苏轼) toward Wei Yingwu(韦应物) and Liu Zongyuan(柳宗元).

The poet Wei Yingwu was born in the most prestigious family in Chang’an city, as such he was the bodyguard and playmate to the emperor since he was 15. He saw the most splendid time of the Tang dynasty, he enjoyed the utmost joys with the emperor, and he acted as rogue in his daily life, as well illiterate. Not for long the civil war(安史之乱) broke , the emperor fled, Mr. Wei lost his position. He started to learning at the age of 20, and trying his best to save the endangered and ruined land. He practised buddhism genuinely since. All these could be reflected through his poems written.

A boat is a very ancient and typical literature image since the time of Book of Songs(柏舟), it could resemble the fate of a person, it is also the vehicle to go hermit(乘桴浮于海), all in all, the life of a person. This poem created a new sophisticated literature image of boat that not a later comer could match: a tied up boat in troubled water. The abandoned fort(野渡) refers a position of no importance, this is a very popular metaphor in Tang poetry.

滁州西涧
韦应物

独怜幽草涧边生,
上有黄鹂深树鸣。
春潮带雨晚来急,
野渡无人舟自横。

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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