Li Duan Poem: A Wife Longing for Her Husband – 李端《闺情》








[1] 闺情:古典诗歌中有一类内容多为描写女子思念丈夫或情人,以及女子对爱情的向往,这些都称为“闺情”或“闺怨”。大多是男性诗人模仿女子的语气,有时也有所寄托。

[2] 不忿:不满;恼怒。

A Wife Longing for Her Husband

Li Duan

The stars are sparse when sinks the moon before daybreak;

The lonely lamplight not yet quenched, she lies awake.

Not dressed up, opening the door with longing eyes,

She complains of the false news announced by magpies.

It was believed in China that magpies would announce happy news, i. e., the return of the husband.


“Li Duan” is a seven-line poem written by Li Duan, a poet of the Tang Dynasty. The first line of the poem specifies the setting and time, while the second line describes the atmosphere of the interior scenery, highlighting the deep state of mind of the woman in her boudoir who has difficulty sleeping at night. The third and fourth lines portray the woman’s disappointed demeanor after going out to look for her husband, expressing her eagerness to see him return. The whole poem is simple, subtle, timeless and intriguing.

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