Opinion / Blog

10 enchanting ancient Chinese poems

By eddieturkson ( Updated: 2015-05-26 17:02

According to Chinese history, the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) was the period Chinese classical literature flourished with outstanding achievements in poetry. During the period 618-907 laureates 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 poets.

Poetry at that time was used widely in many forms, such as 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 Professor Tao Wenpeng in the preface to a selection of poems from the Tang Dynasty authored by Chinese poet Professor 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 happy feeling with natural setting. The poems, according to 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 is a compilation of 10 of these enchanting ancient poems from Wang Yushu’s book for your reading and appreciation. The initial plan was to compile five but leaving out some beautiful sonnets and couplets was a hard task.

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

Previous Page 1 2 Next Page

Most Viewed Today's Top News