Chinese poem illustration: 长干行 其一 Song of Changgan 1 by Li bai
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Reminiscences 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 classic chinese 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 officer and the emperor. The husband or the emperor shares a lot commons, so does the wife or the officer. 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.
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