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Chinese poem illustration: 卖炭翁/ Old Man Selling Charcoal by Bai Juyi

卖炭翁

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There are a lot streets name end up with the character of market(市). This could be the relics from Han or Tang dynasty for Xi’an city, the former ChangAn city. There is no other cities in China have such many streets name end up with 市(木头市, 骡马市,炭市街,竹笆市), there is no city like ChangAn city forever.

The poem wrote about a sad story in one of the markets in ChangAn city around year 805, based on a real story.

This newly created poem genre , New Musical Department(新乐府) , is the descendant by name and spirits of Han dynasty. These poetry indeed, not like the former Musical Department which is a song with music, was about the real stories of normal life.

卖炭翁
白居易

卖炭翁,伐薪烧炭南山中。
满面尘灰烟火色,两鬓苍苍十指黑。
卖炭得钱何所营?身上衣裳口中食。
可怜身上衣正单,心忧炭贱愿天寒。

夜来城外一尺雪,晓驾炭车辗冰辙。
牛困人饥日已高,市南门外泥中歇。
翩翩两骑来是谁?黄衣使者白衫儿。
手把文书口称敕,回车叱牛牵向北。
一车炭,千余斤,宫使驱将惜不得。
半匹红绡一丈绫,系向牛头充炭直。

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