Song Zhiwen Poem: Crossing River Han – 宋之问《渡汉江》









[1] 汉江:水名,是长江的一条支流,这里指襄阳附近的一段汉水。

[2] 岭外:这里指五岭以南的地区。五岭由大庚岭、越城岭、骑田岭、萌诸岭、都庞岭组成,是位于广东、广西和江西、湖南交界处的一座山脉,是长江与珠江的分水岭。

Crossing River Han

Song Zhiwen

I longed for news on the frontier

From day to day, from year to year.

Now nearing home, timid I grow,

I dare not ask what I would know.

This quatrain describes the contradictory mind of the banished poet.


The poem “Crossing the Han River” is a poem written by Song Zhiwen (or Li Bin), a poet of the Tang Dynasty. It is a lyrical poem written by the poet on his way back to his hometown after a long absence. It is intended to describe his homesickness and expresses his love for his hometown and his relatives, as well as the complex psychological feelings of excitement, anxiety and trepidation of a wanderer returning home. The first two stanzas are mainly about catching up with his long stay outside the mountains, while the second two stanzas are about his conflicting feelings when approaching his hometown. The poem is very simple, but profound in meaning; it describes the psychology with great care and attention; it is natural and beautiful without artifice.

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