Chinese poem illustration: 长干行 其一/ Song of Changgan The First by Li bai
YouTube above not applicable? watch full video here: 长干行
Reminiscence of a merchant’s wife life story through several vivid and lively snapshots. Wording like 青梅竹马, 两小无猜 in this poem became popular idioms in today’s language.
For today’s Chinese, this poem is mostly interpreted as love story, while it is classified as Woman Complaining poetry (闺怨诗) actually. This type of poetry contribute a big portion of Tang poetry, most of them could be double referring. In the surface, it is always about a woman complaining on her husband, her lover, her life etc. More or less it resembles the relationship between an official and the emperor. The husband and the emperor shares a lot commons, so does the wife and the official. The Tang poets like to use the wife’ complaining as an indirect complaining to the emperor and his own bad luck.
Particularly, Li Bai choose a merchant’ wife as the subject, who is the lowest in Tang’s social levels, this add on the sadness for this etude.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.