Chinese poem - “Autumn Evening" By Du Mu (Includes original song and video) | 《秋夕》 - 杜牧 (內有原創樂曲及影片)

in cn •  5 months ago

Last week was the 7th day of the 7th month on the lunar calendar and this is the Chinese Valentine's Day. How did everyone spend this day? Did you spend it with your loved one, having a romantic dinner, or going away for a holiday? Or if you are familiar with Chinese folklore, did you guys talk about the sad love story of the cowherd boy and weaving maid who can only meet once a year on the magpie bridge in the milky way? In the olden days, not everyone was so fortunate to spend Valentine’s day with their loved ones, especially the three thousand girls summoned into the palace for the Emperor. Many wait their entire life but never get to spend time with the Emperor let alone see him at all. Today’s poem is about one of these girls inside the palace. On the Chinese Valentine's Day, she sits there on her in the evening, wondering when will the wait be over?


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The Meaning of the poem 作品大意



yín zhú qiū guāng lěng huà píng ,qīng luó xiǎo shàn pū liú yíng。


tiān jiē yè sè liáng rú shuǐ ,wò kàn qiān niú zhī nǚ xīng。

The light from the silver candle is especially cold on this autumn evening as it reflects onto the picture screen

The palace girl chases after the fireflies with her fan

The scene from the outdoor terrace is as cold as water

She lies there looking up into the sky and thinks about the cowherd boy and weaving maid





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Trivia fun fact 趣味小知識


Traditionally, the 7th day of the 7th month is when females pray to the weaving maid for better needlework skills, and it often involves some sort of game. In one of these games, the female puts a bowl of water under the sun in the morning and let it collect dust during the day. Then they will drop a needle into the bowl and see what pattern the water makes. If it’s like a pretty flower or animal, it means the weaving maid has granted her great needlework skills.




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Highlights of the poem 精選詩句



The light from the silver candle is especially cold on this autumn evening as it reflects onto the picture screen, The palace girl chases after the fireflies with her fan:

The light breeze in the autumn evening by the candlelight should be a very romantic scene. Yet for the thousands of palace girls, especially those not favoured by the emperor it creates an even colder scene. Pretty picture screens were popular inside the palace in the old days yet the candlelight shining onto it turns it into a picture with no life at all. These palace girls were like the birds and flowers on the screen, locked in for life, not knowing what their fate would be. Thus, Du Mu cleverly creates the coldness in his poem with the silver candle and lifeless picture screen.




The scene from the outdoor terrace is as cold as water, She lies there looking up into the sky and thinks about the cowherd boy and weaving maid:

Life for the palace girls can be very boring, and all they can do is to play with the fireflies with their fan to kill time. Normally fireflies only appear around dense grassland on quiet evenings, the fact they appear inside the palace is a reflection of how boring life is. In the old days, “autumn fan” was used to refer to females abandoned by their husbands, and the palace girls were often grouped into this category. So on Chinese Valentine’s Day the palace girls felt even more sorry for themselves.



Previously, when females had no control over their own life and fate, to wish for a perfect love life was pretty much out of the question. However, in modern day society, Valentine’s Day is more of a romantic event for girls, and often not even the primary objective in life. Either way, it doesn’t really matter how we view love and what we want from it. The most important thing is just to be happy and chase our dreams, whatever that may be.


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