The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The 300 Tang Dynasty Poems, #42: BALLADS OF FOUR SEASONS: WINTER

From the University of Virginia Chinese Text Initiative:

In Chinese literature, the Tang period (618-907) is considered the golden age of Chinese poetry. Tang Shi San Bai Shou [300 Tang Poems] is a compilation of poems from this period made around 1763 by Heng-tang-tui-shi [Sun Zhu] of the Qing dynasty. Sun's motivation for compiling the collection sprang from his dissatisfaction with the then popular textbook, the Qian Jia Shi [Poems by A Thousand Poets], an earlier collection from the Tang and Sung (960-1279) periods . Sun made his own selection of Tang poems based on their popularity and effectiveness in cultivating character. Because it represented equally well each of the classical poetic forms and because it represented the best works by the most prominent Tang poets, Sun's collection became a "best seller" soon after its publication. It has been used for centuries since to teach elementary students to read and write, and also in cultivating character. Sun's collection is still a classic today, its popularity undiminished. Nearly every Chinese household owns a copy of Tang Shi and poems from it are still included in textbooks and to be memorized by students. We would like to make this World Wide Web version of the poems as a testimony to its compiler's intent : " Learning Tang poems three hundred by heart, you can chant poems though you know not the art ."  

Here is #42, BALLADS OF FOUR SEASONS: WINTER

The courier will depart next day, she's told.
She sews a warrior's gown all night.
Her fingers feel the needle cold.
How can she hold the scissors tight?
The work is done, she sends it far away.
When will it reach the town where warriors stay?

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