A Long Spring NapPosted: May 6, 2011 | Author: Doug 陀愚 | Filed under: China, Japan, Literature, Poetry | 2 Comments »
A couple years ago I posted about this famous Chinese poem from the Tang Dynasty. This was composed by Mèng Hàorán, who in Japanese is known as Mōkōnen (孟浩然). It is also included in the very famous Chinese collection: the 300 Tang poems or Tángshī sānbái shǒu (唐詩三百首).
The 300 Tang poems remind me of the Hyakunin Isshu in Japan as a pre-eminent collection of poems from many good authors. Interestingly, the poems were probably composed around the same era as one another even though they were compiled at very different times.
Anyhow, the poem by Meng Haoran is:
 春眠不覺曉， 處處聞啼鳥。
I awake light-hearted this morning of spring,
Everywhere round me the singing of birds –
But now I remember the night, the storm,
And I wonder how many blossoms were broken.
(translation by Witter Bynner and available on the web thanks to the good folks at Virginia University)
In Japan too, this poem is quite famous and I even saw it featured on a kids show (mentioned in previous post):
春眠暁を覚えず shunmin akatsuki wo oboezu
処処に啼鳥と聞く sho sho ni teichō to kiku
夜来風雨の声 yarai fūu no koe
花落つること hana otsuru koto
知んぬ多少ぞ shinnu tashōzo
But interestingly the first line is a popular phrase in Japanese too. The line 春眠暁を覚えず (shunmin akatsuki wo oboezu) is poetically translated into English as “In spring one sleeps a sleep that knows no dawn”, but I confirmed that in Japanese online dictionaries (and oddly enough YouTube) that this more or less correct.
So as the weather is finally warming up here in Seattle, I will honor Meng Haoran and Golden Week and take a big nap.