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Chinese poem illustration: 相思 Thinking of You by Wang Wei

相思

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Thinking of your family, your beloved is a common feeling among everyone, so familiar, while so special and unique for each one.

Wang Wei started this poem with classic writing of Xing(兴), a writing technique since Book of Songs which is1200 years ahead of him. The description of red bean, the unique nature of southern spring created a peaceful and natural atmosphere with specialty and mysterious exotic. This gifted writing related the thinking and red bean in many similar aspects secretly, creatively. Since this poem, red bean became the symbolic icon of thinking each other in Chinese.

The 2nd pair of sentence sounds a bit rude, like a thunder break the peaceful and exotic atmosphere created by 1st pair. The thunder breaks the peaceful dream, bring the reader back to reality, the bitterly feeling of thinking each other, the ending word Thinking(相思) make the bitter feeling like echo, it echos endlessly.

Wang Wei indulges himself in Buddhism. The 2nd pair of sentence is very likely a Buddhism/Zen practice: 棒喝. With the word Utmost(最), a Blowing and Shouting(棒喝) of huge sound of thinking, the utmost thinking.

This poem is also titled as 江上赠李龟年, which implies that it was written on a sailing boat along Yangtze river for one of his best musician friend Li Guinian(李龟年). In the last few days of Li Guinian, he fell into unconsciousness after singing this poem, and died 4 days later.

A very famous pop song 红豆 is attached the the end of this video, which is so close related with this poem, an echo since 1300 years ago. The MTV: https://youtu.be/5wmfXve11rM

相思
王维

红豆生南国,
春来发几枝。
愿君多采撷,
此物最相思。

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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