Posts Tagged ‘poems’

Poem: The Geese (咏鹅), by Luo Binwang (骆宾王)

A couple of years ago, all on his own, L began to memorize Tang poems from a tape he loved to listen to. He recently made an effort to remember some of his favorites, including the first one he ever memorized, The Geese by Luo Binwang, In honor of his efforts, here it is (translation found on this site, which also includes the pinyin):


鹅 鹅 鹅,
曲 项 向 天 歌。
白 毛 浮 绿 水,
红 掌 拨 清 波。

Ode to the Goose
Luo Binwang

Goose, goose, goose,
You bend your neck towards the sky and sing.
Your white feathers float on the emerald water,
Your red feet push the clear waves.

And while looking for an animation of the poem, I found this little story about the poet Luo Binwang, which ends with a recitation of the poem.
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Poem: In the Quiet Night (静夜色) by Li Bai

As I have written before, memorizing songs and poems was one of the first ways L learned to speak Chinese. There is something about the rhythm of classical Chinese poetry that makes it very appealing to children; they can memorize the rhymes without even realizing that they are learning some of the most beautiful, eloquent, and profound works of literature ever written anywhere.

One of the most common poems, memorized by almost every schoolchild in China, is “Jing Ye Se” by Li Bai. Watch an animation on YouTube:

Here is the poem, in simplified characters with pinyin, followed by the English translation: 

  chuáng qián míng yuè guāng
  床 前 明 月 光,
  yí shì dì shàngshuāng
  疑 是 地 上 霜。
  jǚ tóu wàng míng yuè
  举 头 望 明 月,
  dī tóu sī gù xiāng
  低 头 思 故 乡。

Before my bed, the moon is shining bright,
I think that it is frost upon the ground.
I raise my head and look at the bright moon,
I lower my head and think of home.

This site provides a nice version of the poem, with pinyin and English translation as you hover the mouse over each character.