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Mid-Autumn Festival Poems

In the literary history of China, many poets penned praise to the pure moon of mid-autumn night and gave words to their delicate feelings. The following are some of the best of those poems. Learn Chinese with our Chinese language guide.

Thoughts in the Silent Night 静夜思
Li Bai(李白)
The moonlight is shinning through the window (床 前 明 月 光 )
And it makes me wonder if it is the frost on the ground (疑 是 地 上 霜),
Looking up to see the moon ... (举 头 望 明 月)
Looking down I miss so much about my hometown (低 头 思 故 乡).

Li Bai used his lines to express his homesickness at the Moon Festival.

The Moon Festival
Su Shi
Bright moon, when was your birth? (明月几时有)
Winecup in hand, I ask the deep blue sky;(把酒问青天)
Not knowing what year it is tonight (不知天上宫阙)
In those celestial palaces on high. I long to fly on the wind, (今夕是何年,我欲乘风归去)
Yet dread those crystal towers, those courts of jade,(又恐琼楼玉宇)
Freezing to death among those icy heights! (高处不胜寒)
Instead I rise to dance with my pale shadow;(起舞弄清影)
Better off, after all, in the world of men.(何似在人间)
Rounding the red pavilion,(转朱阁)
Stooping to look through gauze windows,(低绮户)
She shines on the sleepless.(照无眠)
The moon should know no sadness;(不应有恨)
Why, then, is she always full when dear ones are parted? (何事长向别时圆)
For men the grief of parting, joy of reunion,(人有悲欢离合)
Just as the moon wanes and waxes, is bright or dim:(月有阴晴圆缺)
Always some flaw and so it has been since of old.(此事古难全)
My one wish for you, is long life,(但愿人长久)
And a share in this loveliness far, far away! (千里共婵娟)

This is a famous Mid-Autumn lyric written for his brother Ziyou (1039-1112) when the poet was away from the imperial court. According to some commentators, "the palace on high" might allude to the imperial palace and therefore, after reading this lyric, Emperor Song Shenzong said that Su Shi was loyal.

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