Night Thoughts at Zhang Balcony 1

Wei, Zhuang  (836? A.D.-910 A.D.)

A refreshing lute complains that the night is long.
The music around the strings is as sad as wind and rain.
By a lonely lamp I hear a Chu horn 2.
The crescent moon sets behind Zhang Balcony.
The fragrant grass starts to wither,
But the friend I have waited for does not come.
I cannot receive any letters from home 3.
In addition, the autumn wild geese have flown south 4.

1 The word for balcony was (and is) tai. During the Han dynasty there was a balcony named Zhang Balcony in the Zhang-Tai Palace in Chang-an, the capital. The balcony overlooked Zhang-Tai Street.

2 A Chu horn refers to the music of Country Chu being played by a horn. The tone of this music is sad.

3 Because there was a civil war going on.

4 Wei wants to write a letter home, but his only messenger, like the wild geese, has migrated south already.