09Feb/20

Chinese poem illustration/ 悯农/李绅 Value of grains

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Chinese poem illustration: 悯农/ Mercy to Peasants by Li Shen

悯农

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In the short list of great classic poems for kids, a poem to value food. 民以食为天: food is the heaven for human, that is what food means to Chinese.

Catering with good enough food or struggling through a famine is always two repeating situations through the Chinese history , not only by normal people, basically who are all peasants, but also by the elites and the emperor. For average people, encountering a famine means losing life and family, for the emperor, high chances of losing his power when the country turns upside down.

The poem reflects the deeply rooted spirit among Chinese: cherish food , cherish lives.

悯农二首
李绅

春种一粒粟,
秋收万颗子。
四海无闲田,
农夫犹饿死。

锄禾日当午,
汗滴禾下土。
谁知盘中餐,
粒粒皆辛苦?

20Jan/20

Chinese poem/游子吟/孟郊/ Xiao, the core value

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Chinese poem illustration: 游子吟/ Chant of a Wandering Son by Meng Jiao

游子吟

YouTube above not applicable? watch full video at Bilibili: 游子吟

The ABC classic poem for a Chinese kid. It vividly expressed the core value of Xiao(孝), in English, filial piety. It compare the relation between mother and son to that of Sun and grass.

游子吟
孟郊

慈母手中线,游子身上衣。
临行密密缝,意恐迟迟归。
谁言寸草心,报得三春晖。

Correction: Meng Jiao’s mother dead when he is 60. In the video, it is wrongly marked as 54. It is code of conduct for Tang officials to Mourning for 3 years after parent death. During the time, he should quit position, go back home/hometown. Even with 3 years mourning fact, it does not change the facts that Meng Jiao follows his mother , rather than his own will.