From the Readers

A beautiful encounter with Tang poetry

Updated: May 5, 2023 By Ðoàn Phuöng Hoa Print
Share - WeChat

[Vietnam] Ðoàn Phuöng Hoa, Guangxi Normal University

Ðoàn Phuöng Hoa [Photo provided to]

Time is a one-way arrow. Once launched, it never turns back; Time is a handful of dust. Once let go, it goes with the wind; Time is a journey. Once set out, you have to move forward with courage. If we waste time, it will leave us with endless regrets; if we treat it well, it will give us the beauty of life.

Dear friends, time is a treasure for all of us, what do you do with your time? I spent my time quietly in realizing my dream, that is, to master Chinese language and culture so as to be a Chinese language teacher in Vietnam.

As a child, I knew that China was an ancient civilization with a long history, and that the Chinese nation was glorious, who had created a splendid culture. In 2017, I was fortunate enough to come to China to study Chinese. The teacher taught us a Tang poem by Du Fu, “The Thatched Cottage is Broken by the Autumn Wind”. She read slowly but engagingly, transporting me into the colorful world of ancient poetry and the brilliant and magical world of Tang poetry.

Since then, I bound up with and foster a deep love with Tang Poetry. I also fell in love with the yellow paper, on which Tang poetry was written, and with reading the catchy and touching poems. The beauty of Tang poetry is the endless power to motivate me to explore Chinese language and Chinese culture.

The poetry of Tang Dynasty is a magnificent heritage of Chinese culture and a precious artistic treasure that China has brought to the world. There are so many popular lines in Tang poetry. In China, few people can't recite a few Tang poems.

The poets put their personal sentiments and their devotion to country and family in their poems. The exquisite words and expressions have already enchanted me. The rich and profound emotions have deeply touched my sensitive heart. I love reading poems. But because of the heavy work load, I could hardly find spare times to be immersed in the world of Tang poems.

The campus of Guangxi Normal University early in the morning. [Photo provided to]

In the first half of 2020, the COVID-19 epidemic trapped us at home. During the days of half isolation from the outside world, some people practiced hard at cooking, some did various exercises, some found ways to entertain themselves, while I happily immersed myself in the world of Tang Poetry. Several collections of Tang poetry sit on my desk. Every time I read; I was reluctant to put it down. When I came across some wonderful lines, sometimes I cannot help clapping my hands for acclaim. Sometimes I signed sadly. Sometimes I held myself aloof from the world. Sometimes I shed my tears and sometimes I was impassioned.

Every time I understand a poem, my sensitivity to the Chinese language builds up a little more and my imagination grows a little richer. In Du Fu's poem, he said, "Could I get mansions covering ten thousand miles, I’d house all poor scholars and make them beam with smiles.” How touching it is that a weak scholar in a time of war should had such a strong humanist sentiment! Du Mu's poem, “The candle has a wick just as we have a heart; all night long it sheds tears for us before we part.” makes me deeply appreciate that people paint the world with their own moods.

Li Bai's poem, “Its torrent dashes down three thousand feet from high; as if the Milky Way fell from azure sky.”, makes me realize that with the wings of imagination, our world can be larger, more beautiful and more magical. Li Shangyin's poem, “Till the end of life a silkworm keeps spinning silk; Till burning itself out a candle goes on lighting us” is so sad and romantic.

Wang Han’s poem, “Don’t laugh if we lay drunken on the battle ground; how many soldiers ever came back safe and sound” is very passionate and heroic. “Raising my head, I see the moon so bright; withdrawing my eyes, my nostalgia comes around.” Li Bai evoked people’s tears of homesickness with several lines. “Osmanthus falls by the side of the idle poet; the spring mountain is empty in the quiet night.” Does Wang Wei's quiet life in the mountains make us shift out attention from wealth and fame and long for seclusion?

Ðoàn Phuöng Hoa at a park in Guilin. [Photo provided to]

There is no end to talking about the beauty of Tang poetry. Tang poetry has given me a better understanding of the elegant life of ancient Chinese people. Apart from the daily life surrounded by daily necessities (fuel, rice, oil, salt, soy, vinegar and tea), we can also pursue spiritual things (music, chess, painting, poetry, wine and flowers).

Modern life is fast paced. When we feel tired, we may learn from the ancients who knew how to enrich the life with elegance and fun. Life not only has a single look. Tang poetry takes us to any place as far as our heart can reach.

In 2020, I devoted myself to Tang poetry. It is a beautiful encounter and a baptism of my soul. It was my Chinese teacher who brought me into the pretty world of Tang poetry in the first place, helping me go closer to my dreams. I hope that like my teacher, I can make my students encounter and fall in love with the Tang poetry that I encountered and loved so much!

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).

Copyright©2024 China Daily. All rights reserved.


京公网安 京公网安备 11010502032503号