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Thoughts on a Quiet Night by Li Bo

Contributors to the Poetry Pavilion and I chose seven poems to recite as part of an inaugural Poetry Slam event at the Chine New Year Party, 2022. We began the event by listening to a recording by Helen T. Lin’s father, Professor Dai Junren (戴君仁教授) reciting poems from the Tang dynasty. Among the poems that he recited was Thoughts on a Quiet Night by Li Bo. Li Bo (701-762) is one of the most famous of Tang dynasty poets and Thoughts on a Quiet Night is among the most famous of his many poems. The poem by Li Bo below is a shi 詩poem in five-character regulated verse, with five characters in each line and internal rhymes.


靜夜思 李白

Jìng yè sī Lǐ Bó

Thoughts on a Quiet Night by Li Bo


​Chuáng qián míng yuè guāng

In front of the bed bright moonlight


Yí shì dì shàng shuāng.

I wonder if it is frost on the ground


Jǔ tóu wàng míng yuè

I lift my head towards the bright moon


Dī tóu sī gù xiāng.

Then lower it, thinking of my old home.

Thoughts on a Quiet Night
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月上(Moon Rise) from 销闲清课图(Album Depicting Life of Leisure and Solitude) by 孙克弘 (Sun Kehong, 1532—1611)Ming Dynasty. National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan

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