Chinese Classical Poems 学古诗

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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.


Download 80 Classical Chinese Poems with Pinyin



Below are some poems recited by Annabelle when she was between 5 and 6 years old.

赋得古原草送别 Fù Dé Gǔ Yuán Cǎo Sònɡ Bié

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.

春晓 chūnxiǎo

Spring Morning

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.

静夜思 jìnyèsī

靜夜思 (李白)

    (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.

相思 xiāngsī


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.

七步诗 qībùshī


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

Seven Steps Verse

Boiling the beans to make the soup,
and of this the beans thus wailed:
“Borne are we of the same root;
should you now burn me with such disregard?”

长歌行 chánggēxíng

This poem is about how if you don’t study when you are young, then you will have regrets when you are older as you can’t turn back the hands of time.  I take it to mean that you only live once, you have to try your best so that you live without any regrets when you are older.

长歌行 戴梓伊
cháng gē xíngdài zǐ yī

bǎi chuān dōng dào hǎi ,
héshí fù xī guī ?
shào zhuàng bù nǔlì ,
lǎo dà/dài tú shāng bēi 。