Saturday, September 20, 2008

Zhao Hun

Zhao Hun is a poem by Qu Yuan, and collected in the Chu Ci . The title is translated as Summons of the Soul, or Summoning of the Soul.

In Chinese tradition, the Dragon Boat Races originated in the 3rd century B.C., following the death of the poet/philosopher Ch'ü Yuan. In this poem, food becomes a worldly joy, and this excerpt from The Great Summons describes a feast which can almost be appreciated today. Ch'ü Yuan was on the verge of suicide for political reasons, and wrote The Great Summons to persuade himself to cling to life.

O Soul come back to joys beyond all telling!
Where thirty cubits high at harvest time
The corn is stacked;
Where pies are cooked of millet and bearded maize.
Guests watch the steaming bowls
And sniff the pungency of peppered herbs.
The cunning cook adds slices of bird-flesh,
Pigeon and yellow heron and black crane.
They taste the badget-stew.
O Soul come back to feed on foods you love!

Next are brought
Fresh turtle, and sweet chicken cooked with cheese
Pressed by the men of Ch'ü.
And flesh of whelps floating in liver sauce
With salad of minced radishes in brine;
All served with that hot spice of southernwood
The land of Wu supplies.
O Soul come back to choose the meats you love!

Roasted daw, steamed widgeon and grilled quail--
On every fowl they fare.
Boiled perch and sparrow broth-- in each preserved
The separate flavor that is most its own.
O Soul come back to where such dainties wait!

Later, Ch'u did drown himself. His friends set out in many boats to find his body, and scattered rice into the water to feed the fish. The Chinese Dragon Boat Races, held in June in Hong Kong and many other cities with large Chinese populations, commemorate this event. The Chinese prepare a dish composed of meat or bean paste and rice, wrapped in bamboo leaves, tied with string and steamed, in lieu of food given to fishes so they would not dine on poet Ch'u Yuan.

Yuan You

Yuan You is a poem attributed to Qu Yuan and published in the Chu Ci .

Yu Fu

Yu Fu is a poem attributed to Qu Yuan and published in the Chu Ci .

Yellow Crane Tower

Yellow Crane Tower is a famous and historic tower, often rebuilt, that stands on Sheshan , at the bank of Yangtze River in the Wuchang District, of the city of Wuhan, in the Hubei province of . Tourists can obtain a fine view of the Yangtze River from the top of the tower. Yellow Crane Tower is considered one of the Four Great Towers of China. In its modern version it has the appearance of an ancient tower but is built of modern materials and includes an elevator. Displays are presented at each level. To the east on the hill, a large temple bell may be struck by tourists for a small fee. During the week-long celebration of China's National Day , ethnic and court dances are demonstrated in the western yard.

Legend states that a scholar was standing in the tower, when he saw a crane flying past. He asked to hitch a ride on the crane, which took him to the Celestial Palace, and he was never to be seen again.

It was made famous by a poem written by .




日暮乡关何处是? 烟波江上使人愁。

There is another famous poem about it by Li Bai.






which roughly translates to:

My old friend's said goodbye to the west, here at Yellow Crane Tower,

In the third month's cloud of willow blossoms, he's going down to Yangzhou.

The lonely sail is a distant shadow, on the edge of a blue emptiness,

All I see is the Yangtze River flow to the far horizon.

Yellow Crane Tower is also a poem written by Mao Zedong in 1927.

The Quatrain of Seven Steps

The Seven Steps Verse, also known as the Quatrain of Seven Steps , is a highly poem of Classical Chinese literature that is usually attributed to the dynastical work Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The famed scene describes Cao Pi's suspicions of his brother Cao Zhi trying to usurp his rule . Consequently, Cao Zhi is summoned to the court and is issued an ultimatum in which he must produce a poem within seven strides such that Cao Pi is convinced of his innocence. Cao Zhi does so, and Cao Pi becomes so flustered with emotion that he spares his brother, although he later exacts punishment upon Cao Zhi in the form of demotion. The poem itself is written in the traditional ''five-character quatrain'' style and is an extended metaphor that describes the relationship of two brothers and the ill-conceived notion of one harming the other over petty squabbling.

There exists two versions of the poem, one being six lines in length and the other four. The former is generally thought to be original; however, the "燃" character that is used in the former generates confusion over its authenticity. Additionally, the purported original verse includes two extra lines, which serves the purpose of parallelism but does not add any additional meaning already conveyed .

Version 1

煮豆持作羹,Zhu3 Dou4 Chi2 Zuo4 Geng1,

漉鼓以为汁。Lu4 Chi3 Yi3 Wei2 Zhi1.

萁在釜下燃,Qi2 Zai4 Fu3 Xia4 Ran2,

豆在釜中泣。Dou4 Zai4 Fu3 Zhong1 Qi4.

本是同根生,Ben3 Shi4 Tong2 Gen1 Sheng1,

相煎何太急? Xiang1 Jian1 He2 Tai4 Ji2?

''Boiling the beans to create the soup,''

''filtering them to extract the juice.''

''The beanstalks were charred amidst the flames,''

''and of this the beans thus wailed:''

''"Borne are we of the same root;''

''should you now burn me with such disregard?"''

Version 2

煮豆燃豆萁,Zhu3 Dou4 Ran2 Dou4 Qi2,

豆在釜中泣。Dou4 Zai4 Fu3 Zhong1 Qi4.

本是同根生,Ben3 Shi4 Tong2 Gen1 Sheng1,

相煎何太急? Xiang1 Jian1 He2 Tai4 Ji2?

The translation for this version is more or less the same, with the notable exception of the condensing of the first three lines into one: ''Boiling the beans while charring the stalks...''

Note: Cao Zhi uses several characters to describe the various processes of cooking and refining beans. Among those mentioned are: 煮 , 漉 , 燃 , 泣 , and 煎 .

The Epic of Wo Bau-Sae

The Epic of Wo Bau-Sae is a ring of Wu Chinese long narrative verses found around the Tai Lake region in Southeastern China. The backdrop of the story is set in the Ming Dynasty, when the hero Wo Bau-Sae participated in a rebellion against Ming rule.

The Double Ninth

"The Double Nine" is a poem written by Mao Zedong in 1929. Double Ninth Festival, also call Chong Yang, is an important holiday in China. During this holiday, Chinese people usually go to the top of mountains, looking far away, as a ritual of expecting those family members who are travelling outside to come back home sooner.

Man ages all too easily, not Nature;
Year by year the Double Ninth returns.
On this Double Ninth,
The yellow blooms on the battle field smell sweeter.

Each year the autumn wind blow fierce,
Unlike string's splendour,
Yet surpassing spring's splendour,
See the endless expanse of frosty sky and water.