Bai Juyi: Evening Young Crows Caw Out Loud

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Evening Young Crows Caw Out Loud

慈 乌 夜 啼
慈 乌 失 其 母
哑 哑 吐 哀 音。
昼 夜 不 飞 去
经 年 守 故 林。
夜 夜 夜 半 啼
闻 者 为 沾 襟。
声 中 如 告 诉
未 尽 友 哺 心。
百 鸟 岂 无 母
尔 独 哀 怨 深。
应 是 母 慈 重
使 尔 悲 不 任。
昔 有 吴 起 者
母 殁 丧 不 临。
嗟 哉 斯 徒 辈
其 心 不 如 禽。
慈 乌 复 慈 乌
鸟 中 之 曾 参。
Ci Wu Ye Ti

Ci wu shi qi mu
Ya ya tu ai yin.
Zhou ye bu fei qu
Jing nian shou gu lin.

Ye ye ye ban ti
Wen zhe wei zhan jin.
Sheng zhong ru gao su
Wei jin fan bu xin.

Bai niao qi wu mu
Er du ai yuan shen.
Ying shi mu ci chong
Shi er bei bu ren.

Xi you wu qi zhe
Mu mo sang bu lin.
Jie zai si tu bei
Qi xin bu ru qin.
Ci wu fu ci wu
Niao zhong zhi ceng can.

 

Evening Young Crows Caw Out Loud

Young crows miss their mother
Caw, caw they disgorge their sounds of grief.
Day and night they did not fly back
Over one year, still watching over old forests.

Evening after evening they caw until midnight
Listen to mourners, front of my garments moist.
Their sounds accusatory like in a courtroom
Not able to feed and care for their mother.

Do not all the birds have a mother
Your solitude and grief deeply expresses regrets.
Mothers love their children over and over again
Send to her compassion beyond limits.

Wu Qi in the former days of Three Kingdoms
Did not return for his mother’s funeral
Lament! These people not showing filial piety
He was not better than the birds and other animals.
Mother crows—mother crows
Birds and people like this not worth paying homage to.

 

Notes:

[Written in 811 AD, Bai Juyi returned to his hometown because his mother died. He began the Confucian practice of taking the next three years to mourn for deceased parents. This poem can be read as being about the crows and himself, both being interchangeable throughout.]

Wu Qi:  (440-381 BC) Famous military leader, philosopher and politician. Often mentioned in the same sentence with Sunzi (Art of War).

 

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