5 kid-friendly classic Chinese poems
Chinese poems are a great way
to introduce the beauty of the Chinese language
and elevate the environment for spoken language in our children.
Always blows my mind how the poets can paint a breathtaking picture
with such succinct words,
be recited, enjoyed, discussed and memorised
over thousands of years.
The structure of poems is
subject to rules 格律 (gé lǜ),
including 4 aspects:
字数 specific number of characters in specific number of lines,
对仗 matching, and
平仄 tone of the characters.
These poems I'm introducing today are 五言绝句.
Do you see the math?
5 x 4= 20
Enjoy these Chinese poems
with little facts from our research,
for your family to enjoy!
#1 《悯农》李绅 【唐】
Great poem to talk about rice, farm-to-table process, planting, hard work and more!
💡 Did you know there are 2 悯农 poems?
The version we're all familiar with is the second.
悯农 mǐn nóng 的 "悯" actually means sympathy for the toiling farmers.
#2 《咏鹅》 骆宾王【唐】
💡 Did you know that 骆宾王 wrote this poem when he was 7 years old?!
This is his most famous poem!
A poem describing spring!
The poet wrote this after awakening from a rainy night.
💡 Did you know that many poets like to 隐居 yǐn jū live in seclusion?
This poem by 孟浩然 was written when he was living a hermit life on 鹿门山 lù mén shān Lumen Mountain.
Probably the most famous classical Chinese poem ever!
💡 Did you know that people debate over the word 床 chuáng?
Based on the historical use of 床-related words in the Tang dynasty -
it could be a literal bed that we sleep on,
a reclining chair or stool, or
井床 the fencing around a well.
No one really knows!
#5《七步诗》曹植 【三国 · 魏】
💡 Did you know this poem was written when the poet was at the brink of death?
It’s said that 曹植’s ruthless brother 曹丕set an ultimatum, if 曹植 couldn’t compose a poem within 7 steps, he’d be beheaded. In this moment of immense stress, 曹植 composed this poem.
The last 2 lines - 本是同根生，相煎何太急？
are loosely translated to mean:
"If we have the same roots, why should we kill each other?"
Apparently this pricked his brother's conscience and his life was spared.
Share with us, did you learn any of this as a child?