A Chinese Poem:《静夜思》Jing Ye Si (Thought upon A Quiet Night) (by Li Bai 李白)

By Ling-Ling Lisa Shih, Copyright © 2015
From Ling-LingChinese.com

《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.

Li Bai

Biography of the Poet Li Bai

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.

Vocabulary

ID Chinese Trad. Pinyin English Definition
1 jìng still; calm; quiet; not moving
2 variant of ; night
3 to think; to consider
4 chuáng bed; couch; classifier for beds; Classifiers: ; variant of
5 qián front; forward; ahead; first; top (followed by a number); future; ago; before; BC (e.g. 293 ); former; formerly
6 míng Ming Dynasty (1368-1644); surname Ming; Ming (c. 2000 BC), fourth of the legendary Flame Emperors, 炎帝 Farmer God; bright; opposite: dark ; (of meaning) clear; bright; to understand; next; public or open; wise; generic term for a sacrifice to the gods
7 月光 yuèguāng moonlight
8 to doubt; to misbelieve; to suspect
9 shì is; are; am; yes; to be; variant of ; (used in given names)
10 地上 shang on the ground; on the floor
11 shuāng frost; white powder or cream spread over a surface; frosting; (skin) cream
12 擧, 舉 variant of ; to lift; to hold up; to cite; to enumerate; to act; to raise; to choose; to elect; act; move; deed
13 tóu head; the top; end; beginning or end; chief; boss; side; aspect; first; leading; classifier for pigs or livestock; Classifiers:
14 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
15 明月 míng yuè bright moon; refers to 夜明珠 , a legendary pearl that can glow in the dark; Classifiers:
16 低头 低頭 tóu to bow the head; to yield; to give in
17 to think; to consider
18 故乡 故鄉 xiāng home; homeland; native place; Classifiers:

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By Ling-Ling Shih, Copyright © 2015
From Ling-LingChinese.com

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