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Chinese is romanised as hanyu pinyin.

Song for a wandering son

This is Mèngjiāo's (孟郊) most famous poem. In it he describes the sentiments of a mother who's son is leaving home and she is not sure if she will see him again:–


Cí mǔ shǒu zhōng xiàn
yóu zǐ shēn shàng yī
lín xíng mì mì féng
yì kǒng chí chí guī
Shuí yán cùn cǎo xīn
Bào dé sān chūn huī

His loving mother holds the threads in her hand
sewing clothes for her wandering son
As the time of his leaving approaches, she sews the seams closely, closely,
Afraid that his return will be late, late.
Who says the inch long sprout of grass
Can repay the the sunshine of three Springtimes?

Explanation: Meng Jiao paints a picture of a mother sewing warm clothes for her son, who is leaving home. She sews the seams tightly and closely so that the clothes she makes will be warm and waterproof, afraid that he will come to harm during his journey and not return. Meng Jiao asks the question: how can her son repay his mother's love? It is as difficult as a sprout of grass repaying the sun for three years' worth of light and warmth.

(This translation by gak 27 June 2003)
Thanks to Tongpoo for his pinyin codes

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