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Chinese poem illustration: 饮马长城窟行 Water the Horses at water well along the Great Wall by Anonymous

汉乐府

A Han Musical Department song/poem wrote 2000 years ago, the content belongs to Woman with Worrying (思妇) and Frontier Soldier(征人) type of poetry, which means the lovesick wife and the Soldiers in the frontier, who is the husband. This type of poem is about the stories and feelings between the lonely wife in home and her husband in battle field.

Inherit from the Book of Songs(诗经), the Han poems became more complicated on writing techniques, 5 characters a sentence, more focused on the tones and rhyme of the wording, more importantly, it takes the advantages of Chu Ci(楚辞), in which personal feeling was addressed and focused.

This poem is one of the masterpiece in Musical Department songs, not only for the writing techniques, the very deep ,subtle and endless feelings depicted, as well as it created several literate image for Chinese till now: the green grass along riverside (青青河边草) implies the endless thinking for lover and family, double carp fishes became an alternative term for home letter, eat more(加餐饭) became the warmest words to lover and friend.

饮马长城窟行
佚名

青青河畔草,绵绵思远道。
远道不可思,宿昔梦见之。
梦见在我傍,忽觉在他乡。
他乡各异县,辗转不相见。
枯桑知天风,海水知天寒。
入门各自媚,谁肯相为言。
客从远方来,遗我双鲤鱼。
呼儿烹鲤鱼,中有尺素书。
长跪读素书,书中竟何如。
上言加餐饭,下言长相忆。

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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