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Chinese poem illustration: 塞下曲 Under the Fortress by Xu Hun

塞下曲

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The Frontier and Fortress Poetry( 边塞诗) is one of the key feature of Tang poetry, it reflected a powerful empire, as well as it fading away. This late Tang period poem by Xu Hun belongs to the latter.

Xu Hun could be the biggest argument in Tang poetry. His poems were equaled to those of Du Fu’s poems by some people, on the other hand were taken as with less aristocracy spirits, pop song like. As said, his poems were with few or none classical spirits inherited from the Book of Songs(诗经) and Chu Ci(楚辞), in short Spirits and Style(风骚).

This poem written in his 20s proves that Xu Hun was of great sympathy, as well as passion to the Tang empire, which is the core value of classical spirits. It employs the classic writing rule as well: never write to the bottom line, leave the space for the readers to think about(言无尽意).

Yes! read it once, it seems the poem became a story by itself, read it twice, some snapshot shows up vividly, read it third time, more details shows up…yet, the whole poem is of 20 characters only.

塞下曲
许浑

夜战桑乾北,
秦兵半不归。
朝来有乡信,
犹自寄寒衣。

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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