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 didn’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 rendered by Francis Chin

Contents  |  I set my heart on learning

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