Poems of this kind depicted frontier scenery as well as fighting along the northern border area and the life of soldiers garrisoned there. These poems described the scenic splendor north of the Great Wall, fierce war scenes, or hardships endured by frontier guards. Some of the works were about soldiers’ agony caused by long separation from families and about their homesickness, but many such poems also extolled their patriotism. Some of the works voiced the longing for reunion of women left at home when husbands and sons went to the frontier. Frontier poems showed the poets’ attitude towards and reflections on war, highlighting the tension between valuing individual lives and the need to respond to call to duty. The most compelling frontier poems were written in the Tang Dynasty. Frontier poems of later generations could not rival the powerful expression of Tang frontier poems.
Five-character-a-line poems written during the prime of the Tang Dynasty emulated the poetic style of Ruan Ji, Guo Pu, and Tao Yuanming, whereas frontier poems in this period were more influenced by Bao Zhao and Wu Yun. Tang poets drew inspiration from the poetry of the Six Dynasties while discarding its defects of random extension and disorderliness. Their poems were therefore representative of classical poetry that we should learn from. (Wang Shizhen: Records of a Secure and Peaceful Life)