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Chinese poem illustration: 赤壁 Chi Bi by Du Mu

赤壁

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Chi Bi( Red Cliffs) is a place of great renown, the battlefield of Battle of Chi Bi(Red Cliffs). Du Mu wrote this poem while his site tour of Chi Bi.

As an outstanding erudite person on the art of war and history, Du Mu did not mention a word from that angle. He started the poem with his own experience, picking up the broken weapon in the sand, staring and studying it carefully, that is the things most people would do either today. The common tour experience shared by Du Mu, give the reader a sense of presence, as if watching Du Mu closely on site or even the reader was looking the weapon on their own hand.

The finishing 2 sentences is two related assumptions, nothing to do with the art of war and history neither. It sounds much more like daily gossip rather than history review from a scholar, yet the gossip wording facilitate an easy access to the boring and complicated history, let the reader rethink the history with vulgar pleasure.

A second look on the vulgar wording reveals that the 2 assumptions are quite smart and reasonable, so does Du Mu. With extreme pride and confidence to his own talent, Du Mu sighed, even the smartest man is still incapable without the East Wind, literally right timing.

赤壁
杜牧

折戟沉沙铁未销,
自将磨洗认前朝。
东风不与周郎便,
铜雀春深锁二乔。

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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