Meng Haoran (689/691–740)
Asleep in spring, unconscious of the dawn,
The chirp chirp song of birds is everywhere.
Last night the thunder, wind, and rain came long—
How many blossoms now remain out there?
孟 浩 然
Chūn mián bù jué xiǎo
Chǔ chǔ wén tí niǎo
Yè lái fēng yǔ shēng
Huā luò zhī duō shǎo
Transliteration and Notes
Spring sleep not wake dawn
Place place hear chirp birds
Night came wind rain sound
Flowers fall know many few?
“Place place” means “everywhere” but the pronunciation, “chu chu,” could also imitate the sounds of birds. “Many few” means “how many?” The poet is half-asleep on a spring morning, waking to the sound of birds singing. As he gains consciousness, he remembers last night’s storm and wonders how many flower petals were knocked down.
This poem is one of the best known poems of the Tang Dynasty as it is widely used in the official first grade Chinese textbooks and is thus taught to hundreds of millions of students.