Laoshan, China, picture by Francis Chin, Nov 10, 2015

Autumn’s here while you dream of spring

勸 學 詩
朱 熹 

少 年 易 老 學 難 成 
一 寸 光 陰 不 可 輕 
未 覺 池 塘 春 草 夢 
階 前 梧 葉 已 秋 聲 

It’s easy to grow old
It’s hard to study well.
Even an inch of time 
Should not be taken lightly.

While you dream of spring 
By the grassy edge of the pond,
Autumn is already rustling the leaves
of the trees in the courtyard.

The years won’t wait

勿 謂 今 日 不 學 而 有 來 日
勿 謂 今 年 不 學 而 有 來 年
日 月 逝 矣, 歲 不 我 延
嗚 呼 老 矣, 是 誰 之 愆

Do not say, I need not learn today, 
because there’s  tomorrow.
Do not say, I need not learn this year 
because there’s  next year.

The days and months moved on
The years didn’t wait for me
I’m old now, whose fault can it be?

Chu Hsi or Zhu Xi (1130-1200 CE), is a Song dynasty scholar and philosopher, and the founder of neo-Confucianism. Although he swore many times to quit writing and denied that he really was a poet, Chu Hsi left behind more than 1,400 poems.

Translation by Francis Chin

Contents  |  I set my heart on learning 

Autumn in Laoshan, China; photo by Francis Chin, Nov 10, 2015