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Learn a Famous Chinese Poem

One of the most popular Chinese poems is “Thoughts on a quiet Night”, in Chinese静夜思 (jìng yè sī), written by 李白 (Lǐ Bái) in Tang dynasty:
床前明月光,(chuáng qián míng yuè guāng)
疑是地上霜。(yí shì dì shàng shuāng)
举头望明月,(jǔ tóu wàng míng yuè)
低头思故乡。(dī tóu sī gù xiāng)
Before my bed, the moon is shining bright,
I think that it is frost upon the ground.
I raise my head and look at the bright moon,
I lower my head and think of home.
The setting of the poem is inside a bedroom at nighttime. The poet was ready for bed, but he was not asleep. Something was disturbing him - the moonlight. Moonlight is supposed to be gentle and soothing, but here, why is it working as an irritating source?
When the poet looked at the silvery moonlight’s reflection on the floor, he suspected it might be frost. This shows us that the poem was either written the late autumn or the early winter, a rather cold night. But then the poet realized that it was not frost on the ground, it was the moonlight. So, he raised his head and looked at the moon.
After he saw the moon in the sky, Li Bai lowered down his head again and thought of his hometown. But why? In order to understand why the moon caused his homesick, you need to understand the meaning of the moon in Chinese culture. The moon at its fullness stage is a perfect circle. This perfect full moon signifies union, family reunion. The shape of a full moon is like all family members are at home, no one is absent. When Li Bai looked at the moon, he thought of his family a thousand miles away. The more he thought about his family, the more he missed them and the more his sorrow of homesickness intensified.

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