Tomb Sweeping Day Poem

Yes, it’s time for my triennial Qīngmíng jié 清明节 post. This poem is famous, so you’ve probably already memorized it. But just in case you haven’t, here it is:

Qīng míng 清明 Tomb Sweeping Festival

by Dù Mù 杜牧 (803–852, Tang Dynasty)


qīngmíng shíjié yǔ fēnfēn
lù shàng xíngrén yù duàn hún
jiè wèn jiǔjiā héchù yǒu
mùtóng yáo zhǐ xìnghuā cūn

English Translation from Wikipedia

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.

English Translation from eChinaExpat

Heavy raindrops fall like tears on Qing Ming,
Even the people on the street look lifeless.
Where can I find a wine shop to drink?
The shepherd boy points to Xing Hua Village.

English Translation by Wu Junta (pdf)
(I just love the 3rd line in this version)

It drizzles thick on the Pure Brightness Day
I travel with my heart lost in disway
“Is there a public house somewhere, cowboy?”
He points at Apricot Bloom Village faraway.

5 Replies to “Tomb Sweeping Day Poem”

  1. Here is my translation:

    Qing Ming tide, it’s rain upon rain
    Folks walk by, with souls beat down.
    Where, pray tell, can liquor be found?
    Cowherds point. It’s Apricot Town.

  2. I was looking for good advice on learning and remembering tones and stumbled on these translations of the “Tomb Sweeping Day Poem”. If I didn’t know before I now know why I am finding it so difficult to learn Chinese.

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