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Chinese poem illustration: 子夜吴歌 秋歌/ Wu State Song in Midnight: Song of Autumn by Li Bai

子夜吴歌

Youtube above not applicable? watch full video at Bilibili: 子夜吴歌 秋歌

Wu State Song in Midnight is a classic song/poetry in Musical Department(乐府) in South dynasty(420 AD-587 AD) , it origins in Wu State, the place of Jiang su, An Hui and Zhejiang province today.

Li Bai borrowed this poetry type, wrote 4 poems about four seasons in a row. Song of Autumn is one of the them. This poem combine the style of Frontier and Fortress poem(边塞诗) and Women’ Sorrow and Resentment poem(闺怨诗) to describe the life of housewives in Chang’an city, her love to her husband who serves at the frontier battle field. On the other hand, the life of the soldiers is alluded to.

One thing not pointed out in the video is : Why every family in Chang’an city wash clothes? because they are preparing winter cloth for their husband/son in the frontier battle field. When the autumn wind blows, the north battle field is snowing already, so the autumn wind not only remind the housewives of the weather changes, it is a reminder for them sewing and washing winter clothes for the soldiers. The home-made clothes enhanced and doubled the feeling and connection between wives and husbands/sons which used to be by the moon only.

The poem put the feeling straightforward with deep sympathy of Li Bai, as well as a sense of anti-war.

子夜吴歌·秋歌
李白

长安一片月,
万户捣衣声。
秋风吹不尽,
总是玉关情。
何日平胡虏,
良人罢远征。

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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