Mastering Chinese Poetry: Written in A Village South of the Capital
March and April are typically the best months to enjoy flower blossoms in China. What could be more relaxing than taking a moment to feel the vibes of spring surrounded by white and pink blossoms?
In Asian countries, flowers are widely celebrated through cultural symbols. In the Chinese culture, peach blossoms are more than just a sign of spring.
In this episode of "Mastering Chinese Poetry", we go over a classic story by Tang-Dynasty poet Cui Hu, "Written in A Village South of the Capital".
Written in a Village South of the Capital.
In this house on this day last year, a pink face vied
In beauty with the pink peach blossoms side by side.
I do not know today where the pink face has gone;
In vernal breeze still smile pink peach blossoms full-blown.
(Translated by Xu Yuanchong)
qù nián jīn rì cǐ mén zhōng ，
rén miàn táo huā xiāng yìng hóng 。
The poet went to Chang'an, capital of the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907), for an imperial examination… but failed. However, he was lucky to run into a beautiful girl in the southern suburbs of the city.
At the next year's Qingming Festival, he went back to the same place but couldn't find the girl. He left with only peach blossoms in a burst of breeze.
rén miàn bù zhī hé chù qù ，
táo huā yī jiù xiào chūn fēng 。
The story is both legendary and romantic. With the concept of rosy face and peach blossom, the writer expressed a mixed feeling through exquisite contrasts from the start of the poem to the end, which still perfectly fit the state of mind and life of people today.
Take peach blossoms as the example - they represent being lucky in love, especially among younger people in China.
Being lucky in love literally means having "peach blossom luck," or 桃花运 (táo huā yùn) in Chinese.
But beware! The same blossom that left you with butterflies in your stomach can just as easily leave you in a bad romance, if you let those flowers rot away (làn táo huā), 烂桃花.
Springtime is relatively short, but as the Chinese saying goes, plans for the year ahead are made in spring. So, seize the moment and arrange a plan to admire these delicate symbols of spring... and love.