Moonlit Night

Moonlit Night

Under the moon of Fuzhou tonight,
My wife stands alone and gazes in sight.
Though far, my heart aches with distant woe,
For children who may not know my love to grow.

Her hair, like mist, gathers in the breeze,
Her arms, so fair, shiver at the moon’s tease.
When shall we be together once again,
Leaning on the window, our tears to drain.


In the spring of the fifteenth year of Tianbao (756), An Lushan attacked Tongguan from Luoyang. In May, Du Fu moved from Fengxian to his uncle in Baishui (now Baishui County, Shaanxi Province), north of Tongguan. In June, Chang’an fell, Xuanzong fled to Shu, the rebels entered Baishui, and Du Fu fled with his family to Qiang Village in Kunzhou. In July, Emperor Suzong ascended the throne in Lingwu (now Lingwu County, Ningxia).

Du Fu learned that he would go to Lingwu from Yunzhou alone, but was captured by Anshi rebels on the way and escorted back to Chang’an. This poem was written when I was trapped in Chang’an, expressing my deep concern for my family in turmoil. The love is deep and the meaning is true, and it is as clear as words, without any trace of being bound by verses. The conception of the poem adopts the way of imagining from the other party, “the heart has already reached the other side, and the poem flies from the opposite side, the sadness is subtle, the beauty is exquisite, and the wonderful thing is that every word is not from the moonlight” (“Reading Du Xinjie”). Poets of later generations often learn this method.




Du Fu

Du Fu (February 12, 712-770), courtesy name Zimei, nicknamed Shaoling Yelao, No. 1 Duling Yeke and Duling Buyi, was a realist poet in the Tang Dynasty. His works are famous for their grand social realism. The Du Fu family is a branch of the Jingzhao Du family. During the Tang Dynasty, the Jingzhao Du family called themselves Duling people. He used to be Zuo Shiyi and Wailang, a member of the Ministry of Inspection and Engineering, and later lived in seclusion in Chengdu Thatched Cottage, known as Du Suyi, Du Gongbu, Du Shaoling and Du Thatched Cottage in the world.


Image: MidJourney/DALL-E 2