Two poems related to Qingming Festival

唐 杜牧 (Du Mu) (803 – 852)

清明時節雨紛紛, 路上行人欲斷魂。借問酒家何處有, 牧童遙指杏花村.

A drizzling rain falls on Qingming Festival. On their way, people’s hearts are breaking . Inquiring, where a tavern can be found? A cowherd points to the Apricot Flower Village at a distance.

(In the second sentence, the words ‘欲斷魂’ are so strong in emotion that some people interrupt this sentence as ‘People are on their way to a distant place and cannot go to sweep the tombs in their home village on the Qingming Day. This is why their hearts are breaking.’) 

Qingming 4

 

The character ‘眀’ should be ‘明’. Surprisingly calligraphers in the old days put extra strokes in some words. I just follow this special tradition.

 

宋  王禹偁 (Wáng Yǔ-chēng) (954 – 1001)

無花無酒過清明,興味蕭然似野僧。昨日鄰家乞新火,曉窗分與讀書燈。

Qingming 2

Passing the Qingming Festival without wine and flower is as lonely and dry as a monk in the wilderness.

Yesterday I asked my neighbour for a new fire (after the Hanshi Festival when all fire was extinguished); early this morning, I use the fire to light a lamp for my studies.

(Some people interpreted the second last sentence in a literal sense as ‘my neighbour begged me for a new fire’. As the word ‘乞’ means ‘to beg’, it is used to describe the poet’s own action of borrowing from the neighbour in a submissive manner, not the other way round. When referring to other people’s actions, the Chinese will definitely use a more polite and respectful term.)

Advertisements