Chinese poetry can be divided into three main periods: the early period, the classical period from the Han Dynasty to the fall of the Qing Dynasty, and the modern period of Westernized free verse. In Chinese literature, the Tang period (618-907) is considered the golden age of Chinese poetry. For centuries, Chinese students have used the poems to learn to read and write, as well as in cultivating good character. For simple Chinese nursery rhymes with audio and annotated characters click here.
Below are some poems recited by Annabelle when she was between 5 and 6 years old.
離離原上草，一歲一枯榮。 Lí lí yuán shànɡ cǎo, yí suì yì kū rónɡ.
野火燒不盡，春風吹又生 Yéhuǒ shāo bú jìn, chūnfēnɡ chuī yòu shēnɡ.
The grass is spreading out across the plain,
Each year, it dies, then flourishes again.
Fire cannot destroy it all
When spring winds blow they grow again.
Meng Hao-Ran, 689-740 AD, China
I wake up with the sun up high.
Birds chirp everywhere in the sky.
Last night a rainstorm passed by.
Flowers must have fallen down – sigh.
- (traditional Chinese) jìng yè sī (Lĭ Bái)
- 床前明月光，chuáng qián míng yuè guāng
- 疑是地上霜。yí shì dì shang shuāng
- 舉頭望明月，jŭ tóu wàng míng yuè
- 低頭思故鄉。dī tóu sī gù xiāng
In the Quiet of the Night (Li Bai, 701-762 AD, China)
- Moonlight reflects off the front of my bed.
- Could it be frost on the ground instead?
- I look up to view the bright moon ahead.
- Thoughts of hometown bring down my head.
Yearning (Wang Wei, 699-761 AD, China)
In southern lands the red bean tree grows.
It sprouts when the vernal breeze blows.
Pick the red beans with your hands filled.
Your yearning for love will be fulfilled.
An older brother, Cao Zhi, who was an emperor was jealous of his younger brother’s talents. He forced his younger brother to produce a poem in 7 steps or die. The younger brother, Cao Pi, created this poem in 7 steps.
qī bù shī Cáo Zhí
《 七 步 詩 》 曹 植
- 煮 豆 燃 豆 萁 ，zhŭ dòu rán dòu qí
- 豆 在 釜 中 泣 。dòu zài fŭ zhōng qì
- 本 是 同 根 生 ，bĕn shì tóng gēn shēng
- 相 煎 何 太 急 ？xiāng jiān hé tài jí