Chinese & Art Classroom

Chinese Classical Poem 152 & Shirley Created Music 152: Singing about Geese by Luo Binwang   - Sep 29, 2012 /August 6,2011/Oct,2006/ April 30, 2005

Note: I re-sung the poem in English and in Chinese and re-recorded the music, the poem and the singings in a professional music company, also I re-recorded the new words in Sep, 2012, for protecting the copyright, before it is published formally, it will not be online.

Listen to Shirley Singing the Poem in Chinese Sep, 2012
Listen to Shirley Singing the Poem in English Sep, 2012

Listen to Shirley Introducing This Poem & Chinese Characters
Follow Shirley to Read the Poem & Chinese Characters

Learn the Meaning of the Poem With Shirley Together

See Shirley Created Picture & Calligraphy for the Poem Sep 25, 2012
See Shirley Created Picture & Calligraphy for the Poem June 28, 2012
See Shirley Created Picture & Calligraphy for the Poem Dec 15, 2011

China is a poetical country, almost every cultural family teaches its children to recite classical poems as soon as they can speak, and almost all parents have taught their children the poem Yong E – Singing about Geese by Tang Dynasty (618-907) poet Luo Binwang (648 - 684).

About the Poet

Luo Binwang(648 -684) was born in Yiwu (in today’s Zhejiang Province). He was from a poor family, but he could write poems when he was just 7 years old, and so he was called a “Wonder Child.”

Luo Binwang was a famous poet in the Early Tang Dynasty, and he was one of the Chu Tang Si Jie - the four greatest poets (the other three were Wang Bo, Yang Jiong and Lu Zhaoling) of the Early Tang Dynasty. In 684, when Xu Jingye started a war against Empress Wuzetian, he wrote a famous a call to arms Wei Xu Jingye Tao Wu Zhao Xi – A Declaration of War Against Wu Zhao on Behalf of Xu Jingye, in which he put the Empress Wuzetian in the dock and read out her crimes. This became one of the best calls to arms in Chinese history such that even Empress Wuzetian herself said that was the fault of her prime minister that a person of such talent had gone unnoticed and had come down in the world with no opportunity to develop him. After Xu Jingye failed, Luo Biwang disappeared.

Stories about Geese

This poem sees and sings about geese from a child's viewpoint, it is very simple and full of childlike fun and so it is very popular in China. Many Chinese children are able to recite it before they enter elementary school.

In China, there is a tradition that loves geese, in ancient China, many princes and nobles raised geese to use as guard birds, they were used in a similar way to watchdogs. :-)

It is said, in the Jin Dynasty (265-420), the sage of Calligraphy -- Mr. Wang Xizhi ( 303—361) quite loved geese. No matter where there were good geese, he was interested in seeing them, or buying them and raising them.

Mr. Wang Xizhi enjoyed the qualities of geese – they do not hurry when they walk and are leisurely and carefree when they swim. He thought that to raise geese would not only edify ones’ good sentiment, but also, through learning about the posture and the attitude of the geese, it could help people to learn that something natural is just the most beautiful and to understand the arcanum of calligraphy’s writing movements.

He thought, when we hold a Chinese brush, the forefinger of us should like the head of a goose, lifted and a little bent; when we run the brush, we should work like a goose's webbed feet paddling the water, then we could focus on the artistic conception of what is being written.

Here are two stories about how he loved geese:

One morning, Mr. Wang Xizhi and his son (a calligrapher) Wang Xianzhi visited Shaoxi. As their boat went by Xiang Village, he was attracted by the lovely style of a family of white geese that waddled and dillydallied along the river bank so that he wanted to buy them.

Then Mr. Wang Xizhi asked the Taoist monk nearby if he would sell them to him. The Taoist monk responded, if the General of the Right Army (There were 3 main armies in ancient China, the Central Army, the Left Army and the Right Army, Wang Xizhi was a general of the right army) wants them, please write a Huang Ting Jing (a Taoist scripture) for us. Since Mr. Wang Xizhi really loved the geese he happily agreed to the conditions of the Taoist monk.

Another story:

Mr. Wang Xizhi lived in Lan Ting in today’s Zhejiang province. He built a pool specially for raising geese and named it 池 échí— Goose Pool. By his Goose Pool built a stele and a pavilion.

It is said that, one day, when Mr. Wang Xizhi was writing the characters   池 échí-- Goose Pool, he had just completed the first character, é—Goose, a minister came to Wang's home with a decree from the emperor, Wang had to put down his brush and went out to accept the decree. His son, Mr. Wang Xianzhi who was also a great calligrapher found that his father had just written one character, Goose, so he took up the brush and wrote the other word, Pool.

Both the characters are so similar and harmonious. Since then, the story of the two characters on the same stele written by the father and the son has become an anecdote and passed down through the ages, and the Goose Pool has been a scenic spot for tourists for about 1500 years.

This poem was written when Luo Binwang was 7 years old, about 100 years after Wang Xizhi had passed away.

I had translated and introduced it for the first time in April, 2005; created a piece of music for it in Oct, 2006 and painted three paintings to match the music and the poem in 2011 and in 2012.

I do hope that my effort will be of some help to you to learn Chinese language and culture.

Main Meanubg of the Poem

Geese, geese, geese,
Bend their necks to sing to the sky,
White feathers are floating on the green water,
Red feet are paddling the clear waves.


You are welcome to clink on any Chinese Character to open the New Character Board and to see its Chinese pinyin, meaning, pronunciation and follow me to read the new words in Chinese; you can also click on the links to enter the Painting Column, to see more paintings and art notes that I wrote for the poem

– yǒng é
唐 –   táng (618 -907)
骆宾王 – luò bīnwáng (627-684)

鹅,鹅,鹅    - E(é),é,é,
曲项向天歌    - Qǔ (Qū)   xiàng xiàng tiān gē。
白毛浮绿水 - Bái máo fú lǜ shuǐ,
红掌拨清波 - Hóng zhǎng bō qīng bō。

If you have any questions, comments and suggestions, please write to , or, You are welcome.

Shirley Zhang

Written, Edited and Recorded Sep 29, 2012/ August 6, 2011/ Oct,2006/ April 30, 2005

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