Chinese & Art Classroom

Chinese Classical Poem 157 & Shirley Created Music 157 for: Wan Chun - Late Spring by Han Yu - June 9, 2013/July, 2006

Listen to Shirley Singing the Poem in Chinese
Listen to Shirley Singing the Poem in English

Listen to Shirley Explaining the Lyric & Follow Me to Read It
Learn the Meaning of the Poem with Shirley Together

See Shirley's Painting for the Poem June 9, 2013

This is a famous poem by Han Yu (618 - 907) in Tang Dynasty (618-907).

It is famous because it has not only painted out a beautiful picture of late spring, but also, it has brought people many inspirations.

It seems like the grass and the trees " know " that spring will be over soon, so that they are " vying " to show their last sweetest fragrances with red, purple and all colors, even, the willow catkin and the elm seeds that have no much creativeness and no many colors to show, still they are flying all over the sky like snow...

With the simple words, Han Yu gave the grass and the trees some human being's feelings, life styles and ideas:

The grass and tree "Know" the spring will be back soon;
The smart flowers know how to show their beauty by "Vying" with their beautiful colors;
The willow catkin and the elm seeds who have no much creativeness and no many color to show, also they "Know" how to flying as snow...

This poem created a huge room for readers to develop their imagination. Different people will have different understandings because of their different life experiences and backgrounds.

Therefore, there are at least three kinds of explanations about the meanings of this poem:

-- To admire the smartness of the grass and the trees for they have done their best to bring people a most beautiful spring, while to tease the willow catkin and elm seeds for they can only fly in the sky like snow and do not know how to show the world something more beautiful.

To advise people to study and work hard as early as possible, then we can be able to show our beauty as the grass and trees, then we wouldn't be in such an awkward position as the willow catkin and the elm seeds doing in the late spring season.

-- To admire the grass and the trees, also the willow catkin and elm seeds. The latter has done their best to accompany the grass and the trees, by filling the sky with their small white seeds they serve as a foil against which the beauty of the grass and trees stand out... just as some “little people” serve as a foil against which the "big people" stand out...

To encourage common people to do our best and should not underestimate ourselves' capabilities. As long as we have made our own effort, we can also to contribute beauty for the wonderful world.   

-- To admire the simple but free living style and psychology of the willow catkin and elm seeds : the flowers and trees know that their time will be finished along with the spring going back soon, therefore, they exhaust their abilities and just want to catch their last flashy style; then the willow catkin and elm seeds do not think it is worth doing, they are flying elegantly and gracefully over the sky, to overlook the funny situation with smiles…

To people who are very positive, maybe they would like to learn from the grass and the trees and make the most of their limited time to live and work and to make their lives as bright and beautiful as possible. To people who have different attitudes to life, maybe they would like to learn from the catkin and elm seeds and not care for material things, such as money and high position, but just to fly high in the sky to see the entire world...

I think, if you know that the poet Han Yu was the greatest ideologist of the Tang Dynasty, then you will not be surprised that this little poem can be understood in so many ways...

I have written a piece of music to accompany the poem in 2006, and then this week, June, 2013, I painted a new painting to match it and also I re-translated the poem, re-write the music and the article. I really hope that they will be some help with you to know more about Chinese culture and language... :-)

I have not re-made the recordings of the singing and new words, because I am going to correct my translation, painting, music and articles in the upcoming several months.   

Anyway, I would like to thank Mr. Mike Joyce from Britain and Mr. Frank Dawahare from USA for they have checked and corrected my translation in 2007 and in 2013.

Main Meaning of the Poem:

Late Spring

by Han Yu ( Tang Dynasty)

The grass and trees " know " spring will be back soon,
Show their last fragrant with red, purple and all colors.
Willow catkin and elm seeds have no much talent / color to show,
Still they are flying as snow all over the sky.

Chinese Characters & Pronunciations:

You can click on any Chinese Character to open the New Character Board and to see its Chinese pinyin, meaning, pronunciation and follow me to read it,   you can also click the links over to enter the Painting Column,or you can directly enter the art notes on the painting that I created for this poem to see my painting and art notes for the poem

草木知春不久归 - Cǎo mù zhī chūn bù jiǔ guī,
百般红紫斗芳菲 - bǎibān hóngzǐ dòu fāngfēi。
杨花榆荚无才思 - Yánghuā yújiá wú cáisī,
惟解漫天作雪飞 - wéi jiě màntiān zuò xuě fēi。

If you have any questions, comments and suggestions, please write to or You are welcome to publish your opinions in Message Board as well.

Shirley Zhang

Shirley Wrote, Painted, Translated, Sang & Recorded the Content June 9, 2013/ July 23, 2006

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