By Ling-Ling Lisa Shih, Copyright © 2015
《静夜思》Jing Ye Si（Thought upon A Quiet Night) by Li Bai 李白
This poem was composed by the most well-known Chinese poet. It can be recited by all Chinese and is the first poem many Chinese children learn. It was written in a beautiful yet simple style. You can learn the poem very easily.
Please find the Chinese script of the poem, Pinyin Romanization, and English Translation, and vocabulary list at the end of the post.
The following is a lecture in Cantonese. The content will help you learn to appreciate this poem in a more meaningful way. I enjoyed it a lot, and hope you will find it helpful as well.
静夜思 Jìng yè sī by Li Bai
床前明月光， Chuáng qián míng yuè，
疑是地上霜。 Yí shì dì shàng shuāng.
举头望明月， Jŭ tóu wàng míng yuè,
低头思故乡。 Dī tóu sī gù xiāng.
Bright moonlight before my bed
Seems like frost upon the floor;
I raise my head and watch the moon,
Then lower it down and think of home. (Translated by Christopher Evan)
Another English Translation:
Li Bai IN THE QUIET NIGHT
So bright a gleam on the foot of my bed —
Could there have been a frost already?
Lifting myself to look, I found that it was moonlight.
Sinking back again, I thought suddenly of home.
Translated by Witter Bynner (1929)
Please recite the poem out loud as rendered below with right pauses indicated as”/”.
Chuáng-qián / míng-yuè / guāng, 床前 / 明月 / 光，
yí-shì / dì-shàng / shuāng. 疑是 / 地上 / 霜。
Jǔ-tóu / wàng / míng-yuè, 舉頭 / 望 / 明月，
dī-tóu / sī / gù-xiāng. 低頭 / 思 / 故鄉。
The bright moonlight before my bed
seems like frost on the ground.
I lift my head and gaze at the bright moon,
I lower my head and yearn for my homeland.
|1||静||靜||jìng||still; calm; quiet; not moving|
|2||夜||亱||yè||variant of 夜 ; night|
|3||思||sī||to think; to consider|
|4||床||牀||chuáng||bed; couch; classifier for beds; Classifiers: 张 ; variant of 床|
|5||前||qián||front; forward; ahead; first; top (followed by a number); future; ago; before; BC (e.g. 前 293年 ); former; formerly|
|6||明||míng||Ming Dynasty (1368-1644); surname Ming; Ming (c. 2000 BC), fourth of the legendary Flame Emperors, 炎帝 Farmer God; bright; opposite: dark 暗 ; (of meaning) clear; bright; to understand; next; public or open; wise; generic term for a sacrifice to the gods|
|8||疑||yí||to doubt; to misbelieve; to suspect|
|9||是||shì||is; are; am; yes; to be; variant of 是 ; (used in given names)|
|10||地上||dì shang||on the ground; on the floor|
|11||霜||shuāng||frost; white powder or cream spread over a surface; frosting; (skin) cream|
|12||举||擧, 舉||jǔ||variant of 举 ; to lift; to hold up; to cite; to enumerate; to act; to raise; to choose; to elect; act; move; deed|
|13||头||頭||tóu||head; the top; end; beginning or end; chief; boss; side; aspect; first; leading; classifier for pigs or livestock; Classifiers: 个|
|14||望||wàng||full moon; to hope; to expect; to visit; to gaze (into the distance); to look towards; towards; 15th day of month (lunar calendar); old variant of 望|
|15||明月||míng yuè||bright moon; refers to 夜明珠 , a legendary pearl that can glow in the dark; Classifiers: 轮|
|16||低头||低頭||dī tóu||to bow the head; to yield; to give in|
|17||思||sī||to think; to consider|
|18||故乡||故鄉||gù xiāng||home; homeland; native place; Classifiers: 个|
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By Ling-Ling Shih, Copyright © 2015