Memorizing that Famous Qingming Poem

I could be wrong, but I THINK I remember from that book How to Win Chinese Friends and Gain the Admiration of All Peoples:

Tip 94: Memorize famous poems about Chinese holidays.

Every year when Qīngmíng Jié 清明节 rolls around I’ve always thought about (and then promptly forgotten about) memorizing this little poem.

Well for whatever reason, after years of not doing it, I’ve finally decided to commit it to memory. With the Qingming holiday and the accompanying “Bǔkè 补课 Bonanza” fast approaching, I’ve only got a few days to recite this to as many people as possible (no good doing it AFTER the fact, you know).

Go ahead. Quiz me on it next time you see me.

(The full text and English translations are here.)


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  1. 6 Responses to “Memorizing that Famous Qingming Poem”

  2. Joe_周老师 UNITED STATES said:

    Some of those translations are pretty weak. Here’s my version:

    On Tomb Sweeping Day the raindrops pour down,
    A road traveler seeks respite from spirits.
    Please, where’s a tavern in a nearby town?
    Shepherd boy points afar, Xing Hua village.

    Comment date: Mar 26, 2012

  3. zhudi UNITED STATES said:

    I love this poem, taught to me in rainy jiangxi on qingming jie by a serious young man. I like this version. 烛地

    清明時節雨紛紛
    清明时节雨纷纷
    qīng míng shíjiéyǔ fēn fēn
    A drizzling rain falls like tears on the Mourning Day;
    路上行人欲斷魂
    路上行人欲断魂
    lù shàng xíng rén yù duàn hún
    The mourner’s heart is breaking on his way.
    借問酒家何處有
    借问酒家何处有
    jiè wèn jiǔ jiā héchù yǒu
    Where can a winehouse be found to drown his sadness?
    牧童遙指杏花村
    牧童遥指杏花村
    mù tóng yáo zhǐ xìng huā cūn
    A cowherd points to Almond Flower (Xing Hua) Village in the distance.

    Comment date: Apr 3, 2012

  4. Shu UNITED STATES said:

    It is an interesting poem. I just made a post on my website today about this poem with poem analysis and poem recording. You are welcome to check to compare the translation. I also translated a Chinese scientist’s poem with the same structure, but with a ridiculous topic, enjoy!
    绞尽脑汁泪纷纷,
    jiǎojìnnǎozhī lèi fēnfēn ,
    While I was racking my brain, my tears dripped and dripped ceaselessly,

    出版无门欲断魂。
    chūbǎn wú Mén Yùduàn hún .
    There is no way to publish my book, and it makes me feel like soul breaking.

    借问尊书何处卖?
    jiè wèn zūn shū hé chù mài ?
    May I ask where do you sell your books?

    秀才遥指自家门。
    xiùcáiyáo zhǐ zì jiāmén .
    The scholar points to his own house faraway. (note 1)

    Have fun reading poem:)

    Comment date: Apr 6, 2012

  5. Alan AUSTRALIA said:

    Hi,

    I really like your blog and it’s very informative.

    I think this is a great way of learning Chinese too,poem is one of the best way to learn classical Chinese, it can definitely help you understand Chinese better in a deeper level.

    However I think most Chinese Learners would like to master conversational Chinese more, and this might be a bit difficult for them to understand. (to be honest, evene native chinese speakers may find reading poems difficult).

    I’ve discovered the 6 rules of <a href="http://effortless-chinese.com"<how to speak Chinese automatically and effortlessly, it’s been proven by countless research and I’ve seen countless examples(including myself) using thiss technique and master a foregin language, I think for anyone who would like to learn/improve conversational Chinese should definitely have a look.

    Comment date: Apr 9, 2012

  6. Jason 戈 UNITED STATES said:

    I really like the tip about memorizing famous poems about Chinese holidays. Every year on 清明节, I also think about this poem.

    I think this poem is the best one about a Chinese holiday that I know of. The only other one that comes to mind is 田家元日 by 孟浩然 about 新春.

    昨夜斗回北
    今朝岁起东
    我年已强壮
    无禄尚忧农
    桑野就耕父
    荷锄随牧童
    田家占气候
    共说此年丰

    I would love to know if anyone knows any poems about 端午节. I know the traditional story about the poet 屈原 who committed suicide by drowning himself, but I don’t think I’ve heard of any poems about Dragon Boat Festival itself.

    Comment date: Apr 11, 2012

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