Monday, January 9, 2012

Chinese poems and art

He Ping

"Peace" in Mandarin (Chinese)
many thanks to a reader who corrected the word for peace!!

I own a book called
'One Hundred Poems from the Chinese'
Translated by Kenneth Rexroth

New Directions Books, New Directions Publishing Corporation
paperback copyright 1965

painting by Mr. Ou Lang

The book is divided into two style sections:
TU FU (T'ang Dynasty, 713 - 770)
SUNG DYNASTY PERIOD (10th - 12th centuries)

painting by Mr. Ou Yang

I like this one, from the Sung Dynasty (Chinese) period -

The End of the Year

When a friend starts on a journey of a thousand miles,
As he is about to leave, he delays again and again.
When men part, they feel they may never meet again.
When a year has gone, how will you ever find it again?
I wonder where it has gone, this year that is ended?
Certainly someplace far beyond the horizon.
It is gone like a river which flows to the East,
And empties into the sea without hope of return.
My neighbors on the left are heating wine.
On the right they are roasting a fat pig.
They will have one day of joy
As recompense for a whole year of trouble.
We leave the bygone year without regret.
Will we leave so carelessly the years to come?
Everthing passes, everything
Goes, and never looks back,
And we grow older and less strong.

 by Su Tung P'o    loosely translated by Kenneth Rexroth

'Blue Mountain Pagoda' by Ren Adams

and another from the same time -

The Farm By the Lake

For ten miles the mountains rise
Above the lake. The beauty
Of water and mountain is
Impossible to describe.
In the glow of evening
A traveller sits in front
Of an inn, sipping wine.
The moon shines above a
Little bridge and a single
Fisherman. Around the farm
A bamboo fence descends to
The water. I chat with an
Old man about work and crops.
Maybe, when the years have come
When I can lay aside my
Cap and robe of office,
I can take a little boat
and come back to this place.

by Chu Hsi 
Sung period, loosely translated by Kenneth Rexroth

photograph taken from the Great Wall of China
"Drifting on the River of Life"

Here is a paper doll with Chinese traditional costumes for you to color:

Dover publications has some great books on traditional Chinese costumes.
Check them out for authentic colors if you wish!

Qing Dynasty court official and wife, compliments of Dover Books

Well, that's it for today!
I hope you have enjoyed these poems and artwork from China.




  1. I really enjoyed this blog. I love poems. The pictures are breath takeing. Your craftyness showes threw. take care talk to you later.


  2. Pinyin is not 'peace' in Chinese.