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Chinese poem illustration: 邶风/式微 Bei Wind/Nightfall by Anonymous

邶风 式微

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Going home(归) is a daily and simple routine for everyone, while this song of Book of Songs(诗经) endows going home with a much profound significance for Chinese. It became an indirect way of referring to marriage as to woman, life goal, death, or being hermit, all in all the life long destination for a person. The action and time of going home also imply that going to the destination is joyful while not an easy job, It needs considerable determination, energy and time, of course with a bit of luck.

As Confucius said: Poetry could be used as complaining(诗可以怨), this poem is one of these, a simple straightforward complaining poem, without any implication other than the real going home. Through the later generations after this poem, many poets, many essays and poems cited this poem, as the same time endows new significance to this poem and its vocabulary. This is how the Chinese literature, its imagery and vocabulary evolves.

Why Not Going Home(胡不归) today is an alternative saying of hermit. Coincidentally, Chunyun(春运, Spring Festival Travel Season) started in Jan. 10th, 2020, the biggest periodic human migration events in the world yearly. Is Chunyun deeply rooted in this poem?

邶风 式微
佚名

式微,式微,胡不归?
微君之故,胡为乎中露!

式微,式微,胡不归?
微君之躬,胡为乎泥中!

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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