Mooring at Night
The moon in the river but a few feet away,
The lantern waits at midnight for the dawning day.
On the beach white egrets fall wing to wing in sleep,
Astern a fish is heard out of water splash and leap.
This poem is a seven-part poem written by Du Fu, a great poet of the Tang Dynasty, during his exile in Ba Shu. The poem is about the scene of a night mooring on the river. The first line is about the moonlit night, capturing the characteristics of the night scene on the river; the second line is about the wind lanterns hanging on the boom in the boat, the light appearing washed out and soft under the moon; the third line is about the egrets sleeping on the river bank, highlighting the quiet environment; the fourth line is about the sound of fish jumping at the stern of the boat, reflecting the quiet environment. The fourth line is about the moon, the lights, the birds and the fish, each forming a scene, “a perfect line”. The poet uses the technique of moving from near to far, and from motion to stillness, so that things inside and outside the boat, between the river and the land, between things and things, and between emotions and scenery are interrelated and integrated. The whole poem expresses the poet’s love for the peaceful life and the small life in the nature.