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Melody sung by yearnings

Posted December. 10, 2021 07:50,   

Updated December. 10, 2021 07:50


The night skies are covered with clouds casting a shadow of longings on a man’s heart. A series of deep sighs resonate throughout the surroundings – blanketing the buzz of crickets, the chilling early frosts, a dimly dancing lamplight, and the glowing moon. Separated by the endless skies and rivers and surrounded by the mountainous terrains of the countryside, a heart filled with yearnings is only left frustratingly scarred as there is a slim chance of rendezvous, which only makes us wonder whose song it is.

Old China’s poet Li Bai may not enter your mind immediately because he is normally characterized by a free lifestyle full of sightseeing and drinking. Such a sophisticated level of affection and yearning, which seems unfamiliar to Li’s poetry, is described in a way that allows the poet to sing a voice of a desperate wife waiting for her husband to come back home from war on the border area. Otherwise, a phrase of missing a beauty who blossoms like a flower is interpreted by critics as an implication on how he feels after being trusted and later kicked out of the royal court under Emperor Xuanzong of Tang.

Different from any other typical piece of that time with five or seven characters written per line, this poetry is written in a freely spoken style to prove how simplicity works in a poem. This is exactly what folk songs after Han Dynasty look alike – prior to the flourishment of poetry by writers. Given his vigor and valor, such a simple narrative of folk songs may come across attractive to Li. A title replaced by the first phrase, which denies showiness, is also one of the most outstanding features of folk songs.