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10 Enchanting Ancient Chinese Poems

Popularity 11Viewed 4340 times 2015-5-21 10:52 |Personal category:Motivational|System category:News| including, history, Chinese, instead, periods

According to Chinese history, the Tang Dynasty was the period Chinese classical literature flourished with outstanding achievements in poetry. During the period 618-907 literates were not the only composers as it had been the norm during the periods before that, instead, people from all social strata, including emperors, generals, ministers, imperial concubines, maids from the imperial palace, tradesmen and porters, entertainers, Buddhist and Taoists were all keen in writing poems.


Poetry at that time was used widely in many forms for example in memorials to the throne, official and private letters, allegories, travel notes, narrative literature with alternate prose and rhymed lines, storytelling and ballad-singing were all presented in the form of poetry. It was this period that Chinese poetry reached unimaginable heights, according to historians there are over 50,000 poems from over 2,300 Tang poets which still remain today.


As described by Prof. Tao Wenpeng in the preface to a selection of poems from the Tang Dynasty authored by renowned Chinese Poet Prof. Wang Yushu the ‘Tang Dynasty was an age of accomplished masters and there was a galaxy of glittering stars in the circle of Tang poets'.  Their poems contained implicit and exquisite artistic conception and a happily blending feeling with natural setting. The poems according to Prof. Wenpeng brought readers enjoyable and thought-provoking experiences comprising of nearly all the literary genres including poems with four, five, six or seven characters to a line, irregular-line poems and so forth.


Below I have compiled 10 of these enchanting ancient poems from Prof. Wang Yushu’s book for your reading and appreciation. My initial intention was to compile 5 but that seemed like a hard task leaving out some beautiful sonnets and couplets that I yearned to share.


1 Just Setting out from Yangzi Ferry-For Secretary Yuan


Sadly to my dear friend I said good-bye,

And into the vast mist my boat passed by.

From my native place Luoyang now I’m bound,

Still from Guangling woods comes faint tolling sound.

This time and at this place we bid farewell,

Where can we meet once again who can tell?

Human life is like a boat on waves’ top.

Its gliding this or that way who can stop


Author- Wei Yingwu


2 Drinking Alone under the Moon


Amidst flowering shrubs, with a pot of wine,

I drink myself with no friends of mine.

I hold up my cup to accost the moon,

Which with me and my shadow makes three soon.

Nothing about drinking does the moon know;

My shadow follows me where’er I go.

With the moon and my shadow in company,

Before spring is o’er I must make merry.

While I’m singing, the moon sways to and fro;

While I’m dancing, my shadow tangles so.

In sobriety, we from each other apart,

As sworn partners for a tour unearthly,

We’re bound in heaven at last to rally.


Author- Li bai


3 On Climbing Youzhou Tower


I can’t meet those men of the past,

Nor those others in the future.

The world will go on to the last,

Alone, I shed tears of torture


Author- Chen Zi’ang


4 Viewing the Moon and Thinking of the Dear One Afar


Over the vast sea is rising up the moon bright

It shines on you afar and me this same instant.

As a lover complaining of the long, long night,

I sit up all the time, lovesick and in torment.

I blow out the candle to see the moon’s full light;

I feel the cold wet dew and throw on my garment.

Since to you I cannot make a gift of moonlight,

I go to bed to dream of our meeting moment


Author- Zhang Jiuling


5 The Cicada


You’re oft hungry because you stand aloof and high;

To complain loudly and in vain you’ve long made a try.

Your sound weakens and dies away when dawn draws near,

But the green tree remains unmoved by your cries drear.

A small official, I’ve led a life vagabond,

Leaving my fields at home all waste and abandoned.

Thank you for the repeated warnings you give me;

Like you, honest and upright all my folks will be.


Author- Li Shangyin 


6 A Parting


At dusk I close my wicket door,

Having seen you off the mountain.

Next spring when grass turns green once more,

My friend, will come here again?


Author- Wang Wei



7 Thought on the Early Coming of Cold Weather


The leaves are falling and south the wild goes soar;

The river has turned chill as the north winds soar.

At the winding of Xiang River is my home

Far off in Chu land where the clouds high up roam.

As a vagrant, I’ve drained all tears in my eyes;

Now, on a lonely boat, I gaze at the vast skies.

I am anxious to know where lies my course right

On such boundless water in the long, long night.


Author- Meng Haoran



8 To South for Taoist Chang


I perceive, as I pick my steps along the way,

On the moss-covered path, man’s shoes-prints clearly stay.

The white clouds cling to the quiet islet below;

Blocking the forlorn gate green grass is seen to grow.

The pine trees, just washed by the rain, much greener seems;

Tracing the mount leads me to the source of the stream.

Such flowers by the brook and such monastic solitude

Would, even in the Taoist’s presence, keep me mute.


Author- Liu Changqing


9 Token of love

In the south of our country are grown the love peas.

Their branches grow bigger with the coming of spring.

You may gather as many of them as you please;

For they are the best tokens of lovers’ yearning.

Author- Wang Wei


10 Mooring on the Qinhuai River

Cold water is shrouded in mists with sands bathed in moonligt;

Near a wineshop by Qinhuai River my boat moors at night.

About a conquered nation’s poor fate singing girls know nothing;

On the river’s other side, “Back Courtyard Flowers” they’re still singing.

Author- Du Mu











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