Today (Apr 5) is Qingming Festival (清明节 qīngmíng jié) so we decided to bring you two famous ancient Chinese poems about the festival. The first one, by Tang Dynasty (618-907) poet Du Mu, is a little gloomy. During his life, Du didn’t manage to achieve the high-ranking position that he desired, so this may account for his rather sombre poem.
The Mourning Day (清明 qīngmíng)
by Du Mu (杜牧 dù mù)
A drizzling rain falls like tears on the Mourning Day;
The mourner’s heart is going to break on his way.
Where can a wine shop be found to drown his sad hours?
A cowherd points to a cot ‘mid apricot flowers.
Qīngmíng shíjié yǔ fēnfēn,
Lù shàng xíngrén yù duàn hún.
Jièwèn jiǔjiā hé chù yǒu?
Mùtóng yáo zhǐ xìng huācūn.
(Translated by Xu Yuanchong)
The next poem is by Wu Weixin, who lived during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), and is a little more uplifting than the previous one.
Sightseeing in Su Causeway (苏堤清明即事 sū dī qīngmíng jí shì)
by Wu Weixin (吴惟信 wú wéixìn)
The pear blossoms are dancing in the gentle breeze,
and here comes the Qingming Festival.
Men and women, old and young,
take a trip out of town to look for spring.
When the wonderful music, songs and dances end at sunset,
warblers sing and fly through thousands of willows trees.
Líhuā fēng qǐ zhèng qīngmíng,
Yóuzǐ xún chūn bàn chūchéng.
Rìmù shēnggē shōushí qù,
Wàn zhū yángliǔ shǔ liú yīng.
(Translated by Zhu Danni)
Whatever your mood this Qingming Festival, we hope it’s bright and cheery in spite of the fact this longish holiday ends all too soon!