Saturday 20 November 2010


Tang Dynasty Poem: 春晓 [chūn xiǎo]

春 晓

春 眠 不 觉 晓
chūn mián bù jué xiǎo

处 处 闻 啼 鸟
chù chù wén tí niǎo

夜 来 风 雨 声
yè lái fēng yǔ shēng

花 落 知 多 少
huā luò zhī duō shǎo

Literal Translation:
Sound asleep and unaware that it's soon dawn,
Everywhere the chirping sound of birds is heard (in the morning).
The sound of rain (heard) in the night,
(Wondering to self ) how many flowers have fallen.

This poem was written by a Tang poet, Meng Haoran (689-740), who came from the region of China near Xiangzhou Xiangyang (now Hubei Xiangfan). He had an elegant and refreshing style of writing, and wrote mainly of a secluded life in the country side.

Modern Translation:
Spring is beautiful, with the wonderfully intoxicating scent, and transforming scenery of landscape that is so mesmerizing. But what captured the heart of the poet most is the lively sounds that spring brings. The poet was asleep and before he knew, it was dawn (不知不觉已到凌晨). When the poet woke up from his sleep on a spring day morning, the first thing he heard was the chirping of birds.The melodious exchange of chirping sounds of birds that could be heard from everywhere far and near, was what that brought the poet most joy. At the same time, what mesmerized the poet even more was the episode of spring showers the night before. In the peaceful quietness of the spring night, the drizzling of the spring rain brought to people a powerful misty dream-like imagination. The poet wondered how many flowers have fallen as a result of the rain the night before. The deep green after the rain the night before brought forth the beauty, the freshness and the vivid liveliness of the early morning spring. The beauty of this poem is that the poet used very simple and plain language to illustrate for us the natural beauty of nature, like clear spring water breathing fresh air into our hearts, refreshing and mesmerizing us.

This is a very suitable and popular poem for children.

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