Written for My Two Children in East Lu
- Poetry of Li Bai (Li Po)

《寄东鲁二稚子》

- Last updated: 2024-03-24 16:44:05

Written for My Two Children in East Lu by Li Bai (Li Po)
中文原文

吴地桑叶绿,吴蚕已三眠。

我家寄东鲁,谁种龟阴田?

春事已不及,江行复茫然。

南风吹归心,飞堕酒楼前。

楼东一株桃,枝叶拂青烟。

此树我所种,别来向三年。

桃今与楼齐,我行尚未旋。

娇女字平阳,折花倚桃边。

折花不见我,泪下如流泉。

小儿名伯禽,与姊亦齐肩。

双行桃树下,抚背复谁怜?

念此失次第,肝肠日忧煎。

裂素写远意,因之汶阳川。


English Translation

Mulberry leaves in Southern land are green,

The silkworms thrice in sleep must have been.

In Eastern Lu my family stay still.

Who'd help to sow our fields north of Lu Hill?

It's now too late to do farmwork of spring.

What then am I to do while travelling?

The southern wind is blowing without stop,

My heart flies back to my old familiar wine-shop.

East of the shop there's a peach tree I've missed,

Its branches must be waving in bluish mist.

It is the tree I plant'd three years ago,

If it has grown to reach the roof,I don't know.

I have not been at home for three long years.

I can imagine my daughter appears 

Beside the tree and plucks a flower pink.

Without seeing me,she must have,I think,

Shed copious tears.My younger son has grown 

Up to his sister's shoulders.'Neath full-blown 

Peach tree they stand side by side.But who's there 

To pat them on the back?I feel,whene'er 

I think of this,so painful that I write 

And send to them this poem on silk white.

By Li Bai

Why Chinese poems is so special?
The most distinctive features of Chinese poetry are: concision- many poems are only four lines, and few are much longer than eight; ambiguity- number, tense and parts of speech are often undetermined, creating particularly rich interpretative possibilities; and structure- most poems follow quite strict formal patterns which have beauty in themselves as well as highlighting meaningful contrasts.
How to read a Chinese poem?
Like an English poem, but more so. Everything is there for a reason, so try to find that reason. Think about all the possible connotations, and be aware of the different possibilities of number and tense. Look for contrasts: within lines, between the lines of each couplet and between successive couplets. Above all, don't worry about what the poet meant- find your meaning.

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