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Chinese poem illustration: 枫桥夜泊 Anchored nightly at maple bridge by Zhang Ji

A masterpiece about life in the war time, writing with the very true classic spirit , a common feeling shared among the survived people was vividly depicted , together with the spirit of Zen , make this poem not only bitterly worrisome, but also with mystery. all these makes it lasted and recited till today, even without much knowledge of the poet himself.

This poem depicted a very typical situation after the civil war (安史之乱) broke: The people in the capital city , as well as in the core area of Yellow river area, either they were killed, enrolled to the army, or fled to the south, namely Sichuan or down stream of Yangtze river. The poem depicted a normal night at the thoroughfare when fled to Yangtze river area, namely, Gusu city, or today’s Suzhou city(苏州). Northerners on escape would mostly likely stayed in or passed through this city. No matter through Suzhou or not, the people of the time definitely share a similar situation and feeling on his/her way of escape.

By the wording, it simply looks a purely description of the situation that a passenger boat arrived the Hanshan temple in midnight, with some nervous atmosphere , a bit of bitterness, a bit of uncertainty/Zen, who is knocking the door?

With a thoroughly exploration of the life style of Tang people, the meaning of a midnight stranger is revealed, and a common feeling could be shared between us and Tang people.

It would be a very good comparison between 枫桥夜泊 and 滁州西涧, both written about the war, the poet’s attitude and feeling toward the war , through very simple and plain wording, yet the reflected personality and mind is totally different.These two poems is the very example of express feelings through view depicting(寓情于景) and leave the space for the readers(书不尽言, 言不尽意)

枫桥夜泊
张继

月落乌啼霜满天,
江枫渔火对愁眠。
姑苏城外寒山寺,
夜半钟声到客船。

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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