Meng Haoran: Farm Family: First Day of the New Year

Farm Family: First Day of the New Year

田 家 元 日
昨 晚 斗 回 北
今 朝 岁 起 东。
我 年 已 强 仕
无 禄 唯 尚 农。
桑 野 就 耕 父
荷 锄 随 牧 童。
田 家 占 气 候
共 说 此 年 丰。
Tian Jia Yuan Ri

Zuo wan dou hui bei
Jin zhao sui qi dong.
Wo nian yi qiang shi
Wu lu wei shang nong.

Sang ye jiu geng fu
He chu sui mu tong.
Tian jia zhan qi hou
Gong shuo ci nian feng.


Farm Family: First Day of the New Year

Last night the Bei Dou Xing turns from the north to the east
Today near dawn, Mu Xing moves to the east.
I am already forty years old
Without an official’s salary, can only farm the land.

This old man cultivates wild mulberries
Follows the shepherd boys with my hoe.
Farm families excitedly talk of this year’s good prospects
Altogether say this will be a year of plenty.



Bei Dou Xing: The North Pole Star, portends a good harvest year.

Mu Xing: The planet Jupiter, used to tell when the time for spring planting is to arrive.

Wild mulberries: Mulberries symbolize a life of simple subsistence farming.

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