Chinese & Art Classroom

Chinese Classical Poem 167 & Shirley Created Painting, Article, Music & Poem Songs 166 for: Bai Xue Ge So Wu Panguan Gui Jing June 10, 2014 in Beijing / Dec 17, 2005 in Shenzhen

Listen to Shirley Singing the Poem in Chinese in Beijing, Mar. 20, 2014
Listen to Shirley Singing the Poem in English in Beijing, Mar. 20, 2014
Listen to Shirley Singing the Poem in Chinese & English,Mar.20,2014
Listen to Shirley Singing the Poem in English & Chinese,Mar, 20, 2014

Listen to Shirley Explaining the Poem & Follow Me to Read It
Follow Shirley to Read the New Words & the Poem

Learn the Meaning of the Poem & It Created Background

See Shirley Created Two Paintings for the Poem in Beijing,June 2-10,2014
See Shirley Created Painting for the Poem in Beijing,Mar16-19, 2014
See Shirley Created Painting for the Poem Sep 2,2007

Frontier - Style Poetry:

Frontier-style poetry usually refers to the poems that wrote the military and civilian life and the natural view in the border areas. It started from the Pre-Qin (before B. C. 221), developed in the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- A.D. 220 ) , flourished in Sui Dynasty (581-618) and entered its golden age in Tang Dynasty (618 - 907).

The frontier poem was one of the most important part of Tang Dynasty poetry. No matter its ideological content, imagination and the artistic quality all met the highest level of Chinese poetry. Appeared a lot of famous frontier poets and numerous frontier poems. Just In the Quan Tang Shi -- the Complete ( Collection) of Tang Dynasty Poetry (the other version: The Complete of Tang Poems), which was edited   in 1705 in the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912), included more than 2000 of Tang Dynasty Frontier-style poems. 边塞诗派biān sè shī pài -- the Borders and Frontier Fortress Poets Group has been affecting the development of Chinese poetry since it was appeared in the history of Chinese poetry.

The Characteristics of Tang Dynasty Frontier –style poetry:

The main content of the Frontier –Style Poetry was very abundant and mainly included:

-- To express the aspiration and ambition of establishment the achievement by fighting the enemy bravely and returning the country.
-- To write how the generals and soldiers missed their families and their hometowns and how their family members missed their husbands, brothers and sons.
-- To describe the fantastic natural scene in the northern-frontier and folkway and folk-custom in the foreign lands.
--- To record the hard the hard life of the soldiers and generals in the border regions, the cruelty of the wars and fights.
-- Also the complex and contradictory feelings, such as: the enthusiasm of protecting the country and the hard life in the frontier area; joined the army but missed the family members and so on…

The art form of the frontier – style poetry:

-- Since the Glorious age of Tang Dynasty, the frontier-style of poetry has been changed very long, and most of the poems went out of the style that a poem was with five characters to a line, but with seven characters to a line.

-- Its aesthetics style was powerful, majestic, bold and unconstrained, romantic, tragic and magnificent.

-- There was strong love knot related to Han Dynasty. Han was something or someone used in placed of Tang, such as:
the army was called “ Han Soldiers ” ;
the generals were called “ Han Generals ”;
the frontier fortress was called “ Han Fortress ”;
the moon was called “ Han Moon ”   

When they mentioned to the minority or the heroes in the border areas, also followed the titles in Han Dynasty. This kind of the love knot was not only to succeed to the history, but also it exceeded the history.

-- There was clear broad areas scene :
for instance:
The natural scene was mainly: yellow desert, white clouds; glacier, snow mountains;
The geography was mainly: north of the Great Wall; north of the desert; desert; Yellow River; cities on the border; in the Hu Sky;
The things from the foreign lands were mainly: Mongol flute, Hujia, Pipa (a plucked string instrument with a fretted fingerboar); war horse;
The figures were usually: garrison soldier, generals, Hu ren (the Northern barbarian tribes in ancient China);

The reason of the Frontier-style Poetry flourished in the Earlier and Glorious age of Tang Dynasty.

The strong frontier defence and the much self-confidence of the people in Tang Dynasty, made the poets wanted to express the situation with a very positive style in that great times; generally, people in that times, had a strong aspiration to build up a great achievement for their country and for themselves; the stimulation of the system of “入幕制度”(mù fǔ zhì dù: In ancient China, the officers recommended someone talent came to their offices to take part in the decision-making. Many ancient liberators with the ambition there and wish to build up achievement and also wanted to find a road to go into the office field. ). People enjoyed giving up civilian pursuits and joining the army, to build up the achievement in the border areas.

The authors of the frontier –style poetry and the leader poets of Tang Dynasty mainly were the generals and the civil officials who were in the armies and have been in the border areas. Mainly they lived in the earlier Tang Dynasty and in the Prosperous Period.

The creation of frontier poetry run thought the four phases of Tang Dynasty (618 -907).Included a group of leading poets. The poetry in the early Tang Dynasty (618 - 713) and in the Prosperous Period (71- 7663) has the highest artistic level.

The important poets In the Early Tang Dynasty (618 - 713) are:   
Chu Tang Si Jie - The Four Outstanding Poets:
王勃 Wáng Bó (650 -- 676)
杨炯Yáng Jiǒng (650-692)
卢照陵 Lú   Zhào líng (636 - 695)
骆宾王 Luò Bīnwáng (619 -- 687)
陈子昂Chén Zǐáng

In the Prosperous Period of the Tang Dynasty(713 - 766):
The frontier-style poetry entered its heyday. There were many the most famous frontier-style poets. The representatives were:

高   适 Gāo Shì(700 – 765)
岑   参 Cén Shēn (715-770)
王昌龄 Wáng Chāng líng (698 – 756)
王之渙 Wáng Zhīhuàn (688-742)
李   颀 Lǐ Qí (690-751)
崔   颢 Cuī Hào(704-754)
王   翰 Wáng Hàn (687 - 726)
王   维 Wáng Wéi (701-761) or (699 – 761)
李    Lǐ Bái(701 - 762)

Many masters, such as Li Bai, Du Fu, Wang Wei, all wrote a part of Frontier poems and these part poems became a part of their representative works.

In the Middle Part of the Tang Dynasty (766 - 835) and In the Late Tang Dynasty (836 - 906 ), there were no maters, but the themes of the frontier- style poetry was extended much more. The main poets were:
李   贺 Lǐ Hè (790 - 816)
李    益 Lǐ Yì (746 - 829)
卢   纶 Lú Lún (737- 799)

In the first volume of the series books, I had introduced one of the creators of Tang Dynasty’s frontier – style poetry, Gao Shi and his poem: Bie Dong Da.

Today, I would like to introduce a part of a long poetry by the other important creators of Tang Dynasty frontier – style poetry – Cen Shen and his poem: Bai Xue Ge Song Wu Panguan Gui Jing.

The Main Meaning of the Poem and the Lyrics of the Song in English

The North wind rolls the land & breaks the white grass.
In the Hu sky, snow flies in August.
Suddenly, like the spring breeze blew last night,
Thousand or ten thousand pear trees are in blossom.

The North wind rolls the land & breaks the white grass.
In the Hu sky, snow flies in August.
Suddenly, like the spring breeze blew last night,
Thousand or ten thousand pear trees are in blossom.

Suddenly, like the spring breeze blew last night,
Thousand or ten thousand pear trees are in blossom.

Accessories: Translation By Shanghai Online

The north wind rolls the white grasses and breaks them;
And the Eighth-month snow across the Tartar sky
Is like a spring gale, come up in the night,
Blowing open the petals of ten thousand pear trees.

It enters the pearl blinds, it wets the silk curtains;
A fur coat feels cold, a cotton mat flimsy;
Bows become rigid, can hardly be drawn
And the metal of armour congeals on the men;
The sand-sea deepens with fathomless ice,
And darkness masses its endless clouds;
But we drink to our guest bound home from camp,
And play him barbarian lutes, guitars, harps;
Till at dusk, when the drifts are crushing our tents
And our frozen red flags cannot flutter in the wind,
We watch him through Wheel-Tower Gate going eastward.
Into the snow-mounds of Heaven-Peak Road...
And then he disappears at the turn of the pass,
Leaving behind him only hoof-prints.

Original Poem, Lyrics of the Song in Chinese and Pronunciations

You can click on any Chinese Character to open the New Character Board and see its Chinese pinyin, meaning, pronunciation and follow me to read it; you can also click on the links to enter the Vocal, Bilingual Poetry & Painting Series of Painting Column, or to enter the Classical Column of Chinese Language column.

白雪歌送武判官归京 - Bái XuěGēSóng WǔPàn Guān GuīJīng

- táng (618 - 907)

岑参 - Cén Shēn

北风卷地白草折-- Běifēng juǎndì bǎicǎo zhé,
八月-- Hútiān bāyuè jì fēiyuě。
忽如一夜春风来-- Hūrú yīyè chūnfēng lái,
千树万树梨花开-- Qiānshù wàn shù líhuā kāi。

北风卷地白草折-- Běifēng juǎndì bǎicǎo zhé,
八月-- Hútiān bāyuè jì fēiyuě。
忽如一夜春风来-- Hūrú yīyè chūnfēng lái,
千树万树梨花开-- Qiānshù wàn shù líhuā kāi。

忽如一夜春风来-- Hūrú yīyè chūnfēng lái,
千树万树梨花开-- Qiānshù wàn shù líhuā kāi。

散入珠帘湿罗幕 Sà rù zhūlián   shī luómù,
狐裘不暖锦衾薄-- húqiú bùnuǎn jǐn qīn   bó。
将军角弓不得控-- Jiāngjūn   jiǎogōng   bù dé kòng,
都护铁衣冷难着-- dūhù tiěyī lěng   nán zhuó。

瀚海阑干百丈冰-- Hàn hǎi lángān bǎi zhàng bīng,
愁云黪淡万里凝-- chóu yún cǎn dàn wàn lǐ níng。

中军置酒饮归客-- Zhōngjūn   zhìjiǔ   yìn gūnkè,
胡琴琵琶与羌笛-- húqín   pípa   yǔ   qiāngdí。
纷纷暮雪下辕门-- Fēnfēn   mùyǔe   xià yuán méng,
风掣红旗冻不翻-- fēng chè   hóngqí dòng   bùfāng。

轮台东门送君去-- Lúntái dōngmēng sòng jūn qù,
去时雪满天山路-- qùshíxuě mǎn tiāngshān lù。
山回路转不见君-- Shān huí lùzhuǎn bú jiàn jūn,
雪上空留马行处-- xuěu shàng kōng liú mǎxí chù。

About the Poet

Cen Shen (715-770), poet in the Tang Dynasty (618 --907). He had the same important position as Gao Shi in Chinese poetry history and be called Gao and Cen. Both of them were the most important poets of Frontier- style Poetry or say Heroism Poetry of the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907).

Cen Shen was from today's Hubei province. He started to read and write when he was 5 and 9 years old. He went to the capital at 20 years old and became a successful candidate in the highest imperial examinations at 30, then he went to the border of the North Western area, and stayed there twice for about 8 years. These life experience was the most important the base that he became a frontier-style poet.

Cen Shen wrote many poems, frontier-style poetry ( heroism poetry)   was his highest accomplishment, for they have written the great scenery of the border area, how the generals and soldiers protected their country with the very positive and optimistic attitude in the quite hard environment.

Many of his poems also expressed the beautiful music, dance from the other nations and created his unique art styles with his own language. So, his poems were known extensively at his times.

Since then, about 1100 years have passed, Cen Shen has left 360 poems for us now.

Enjoy the Poem

This is a frontier –style poem and also a farewell poem. The original poem includes 18 lines and each line had 7 Chinese characters. Here, I would just like to introduce the first 4 lines to you, to express the background of the farewell had happened.   

The title: 白雪歌送武判官归京 Bái Xuě Gē Sòng Wǔ Pài Guān Guī Jīng means with the poem White Snow Song to see Mr. Wu off to go back to the capital. Bái means white; Xuě means snow; Gē means song, or sing. 白雪歌Bái Xuě Gē means white snow gong, to compose a white snow song. For what? To see Mr. Wu off. Sòng, means see off; 判官Wǔ Pài Guān mean Office Wu: Wu is a Chinese family name; 判官 Pài Guān is the title of Mr. Wu, a title of an officer who is charge of the document work, an assistant to the chief local official.
Now we know the meaning of the title is: to make a poem to see Mr. Wu off and going beck to the capital – Changan (Today’s Xian).
Then the first lines to write to background of the farewell.
The first line: 北风卷地白草折běifēng juǎndì bǎicǎo zhé. běi means north;   fēng means wind. 北风běifēng means the north wind. juǎn means roll, dì means lnad; juǎndì: means roll over the land; 白草bǎicǎo means white grass, bǎi means white, bǎi means grass; white grass is a a forage grass in the border area of the northwest of China. It changes to be white in the fall; zhé means break.
This line means: The north wind rolls over the land and breaks the white grass. Before we saw the view how to wind has broken the white grass, we have heard the sound of the wind and felt how it rolls over the land already.
The second line: 八月hútiān bāyuè jì fēiyuě. hú, includes many means. First of all, in the ancient, Han people call the non-Han nationalities living in the north and west of China to be "Hu"; also it refers to the North Western frontier area, here means the border area of northwest. tiān, means sky, weather, God. 八月bāyuè means August; jì means just; fēiyuě, means snow. fēi means fly snow, snow. This line means: In the Hu Sky, snow flies in August. To show us how unusual the weather is in the Hu Area.
忽如一夜春风来hūrú yīyè chūnfēng lái. hū means suddenly; rú means like, as if; yī means one, a; yè means night; chūn means spring; fēng means wind; 春风chūnfēng means spring breeze; lái means come, blow (back) . This line means: Suddenly, just like (as if) a spring breeze blew last night.
千树万树梨花开qiānshù wàn shù líhuā kāi. qiān means thousand; wàn means ten thousand, shù means tree, 梨花 líhuā means pear flower, lí means pear, huā means flower; kāi means blossom, open. This line means thousand or ten thousand pear trees are in blossom.

Then, just in this big background, the poet saw his friend off.
This is a very famous farewell poem. Just see the short 4 lines, we can see some very obvious character in writing, can be summarize with one word “ unusual ” or “ unique “.
In the writing, it creates a quite unique beginning: 北风卷地白草折běifēng juǎndì bǎicǎo zhé -- The north wind rolls over the land and breaks the white grass. Just like the strong music that is played by a symphony orchestra before a wonderful play. Before we saw the snow, we have heard the sound of the wind, it is so strong that rolls over the land and broken the grass. Then, the poet found with so much surprise that 八月hútiān bāyuè jì fēiyuě, In the Hu Sky, snow flies in August. To the local people, it is a usual natural view in the border area, but to a person who comes from the south of the border area, it is really too early and a too strange thing to see snow in the season between summer   and fall. The wordjì, writes out the surprised heart perfectly. But, the unique things have not been finished:
忽如一夜春风来 hūrú yīyè chūnfēng lái: Suddenly, like (as if) the spring breeze blew last night. 千树万树梨花开 qiānshù wàn shù líhuā kāi: Thousand or ten thousand pear trees are in blossom.   The 3rd line uses the two words hūrú, to express the unique weather, it does not only snow so early, but also it changes very fact; the snow does not start so quickly, but also it changes the natural scenery at once.   With an unusual imagination, we find, the cold natural view that is full of the wind, snow, ice, and the withered grass and plant suddenly becomes a luxuriant spring, we can only feel so warm, but also, we can even smell the fragrance from the pear flowers, don’t we?
Right now, the poet does not only use his own imagination to create a magnificent artistic conception, but also, he has delivered his imagination to his readers. Let us imagine, when the pare flowers are in   blossom, the white flowers are not one by one, but one group by one group, just like a conglomeration of splendid and beautiful things, bend the branches low, it is just similar to the snow bend the forest.   With so much positive romantic lofty sentiments, the poet compare the spring flower scenery to the snow view, almost make people forget the unusual cold in the northwest area, but feel delight and warm, the writing and the create of the art conception is really unique, so that it has been the a well-known lines since it was created.
Among the two groups of lines, there is also something unique: At the first is quick and in a hurry, at the end is easy and leisurely...   


Imagination is the life of art. If there is no imagination, there is no any art. A wonderful imagination should base on the meticulous observe to the natural things, and it is mainly from a positive, healthy and optimistic life attitude. So, if an artist or someone else would like to create something beautiful, we must train ourselves to have a strong observe ability; the most important is to train us to have a positive life attitude.

What is called “ The writing reflects the writer ” maybe speaking this reason. Do you think so?

If you have any questions, comments and suggestions, please write to . You are welcome to publish your opinions in Message Board as well.

Shirley Yiping Zhang

Mar. 22, 2014 in Beijing/Dec 17, 2005 in Shenzhen

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