Du Fu Poems: Thinking of My Brothers on a Moonlit Night – 杜甫《月夜忆舍弟》

















Thinking of My Brothers on a Moonlit Night

War drums break people’s journey drear;

A swan honks on autumn frontier.

Dew turns into frost since tonight;

The moon viewed at home is more bright.

I’ve brothers scattered here and there;

For our life or death none would care.

Letters can’t reach where I intend;

Alas! the war’s not come to an end.



The poem “Thinking of My Brothers on a Moonlit Night” is a five-line poem written by Du Fu, a poet of the Tang Dynasty. The poem is about a brother separated by war, living in a place with no fixed location, with no news, and with his life and death uncertain. The poem is written at the time of the White Dew, and the poet’s worries and longing for his brother become deeper and more intense against the sound of the drums in the garrison and the mournful call of the lonely geese. The first two lines of the poem focus on the scenery, while the second two lines focus on the lyricism, with the interplay of scenes and a rigorous structure, echoing the first and last lines. The first two lines of the poem focus on the scenery and the second two lines on the emotion. The inverted stanzas have a strange effect. The poem’s language is refined, its tone is melancholy and sorrowful, and it is sincere and touching.

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