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Celebrating National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month and has been set aside for us to appreciate and celebrate this ancient art form. We have selected a poem to mark National Poetry Month translated by our wonderful calligraphy and poetry instructor Ben Wang. Enjoy this selection of classical and contemporary Chinese poetry.

Written by Li Bai (701-762), arguably the most famous Chinese poet of all time, “Remembering East Hill” is a beautiful example of the pentasyllabic quatrain, a form of classical Chinese poetry popular particularly since Tang Dynasty (618 – 907). Through East Hill, the blossom, the clouds, the moon, and their inseparable ties to human lives, the poem, as the translator Ben Wang puts it, “speaks voluminously about relationships between humans and Nature, as well as love among humans, and above all how the past is the only mirror humans have, in which they can see themselves.” (quote from Ben Wang’s recently published book, “Forlorn in the Rain)

忆东山 Remembering East Hill

李白 Lǐ Bái (701-762)

不向东山久,Bú xiàng dōngshān jiǔ,

蔷薇几度花。Qiángwēi jǐ dù huā.

白云还自散,Báiyún hái zì sàn,

明月落谁家。Míngyuè luò shéi jiā.

Translated by 汪班(Ben Wang)

I’ve not turned my thoughts to East Hill in so long…

How many times, Wild Roses, have you flowered?

White Clouds are now all gone their separate ways…

In whose home, Fair Moon, will you set tonight?

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