June 21, 2020

Spring Dawn by Mèng Hào Rán (春曉, 孟浩然)




孟浩然

 

 

春眠不覺曉,

處處聞啼鳥。

夜來風雨聲,
花落知多少。

 

 

Spring Dawn

Mèng Hào Rán

 

 

In spring sleep, dawn arrives unknowingly,

I hear crying birds everywhere.

From the sound of the wind and rain last night,

I wonder how many flowers fell?

 

 

 

Mèng Hào Rán  (689-740) was a famous Tang dynasty poet. In his later years preferring the life of a recluse, when Mèng was not visiting friends at their posts along the Cháng Jiāng river (Yangtze), including his close compadre Wáng Wéi (for which he wrote several poems), he  would be writing poetry while immersed in nature, primarily at his family seat in South mountain (南山) or in his hermitage on Lù Mén mountain (鹿門山) where he briefly lived in retreat. Mèng is often referred to as a ‘landscape poet’, for his beautiful reflections and writings on the landscapes around him, especially the ones around his hometown, modern day Hú Běi province.

Another five character quatrain poem, this and my previous poetry post (Wáng Wéi’s Deer Fence), are a couple of the most popular poems in modern day China, which can be recited by memory by many Chinese folk. Archie Barnes in his Chinese through Poetry describes this simple poem eloquently, “It describes the process of waking up in four successive stages: first, unconsciousness; second, the awakening of sensory perception; third, the awakening of memory; and fourth, the awakening of rational thought, giving full daytime consciousness.”



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