New Year’s Day (January 29th, 1930)
– to the tune of Ju Meng Ling
Ninghua, Chingliu, Kueihua–
What narrow paths, deep woods and slippery moss!
Whither are we bound today?
Straight to the foot of Wuyi Mountain.
To the mountain, the foot of the mountain,
Red flags stream in the wind in a blaze of glory.
* English translation from Mandarin Chinese *
Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung)
A poem written January 9th, 1963
Reply to Comrade Guo Moruo
(to the tune of Man Jiang Hong)
On this tiny globe
A few flies dash themselves against the wall,
Humming without cease,
Ants on the locust tree assume a great-nation swagger,
And mayflies lightly plot to topple the giant tree.
The west wind scatters leaves over Chang’an,
And the arrows are flying, twanging.
So many deeds cry out to be done,
And always urgently:
The world rolls on,
Ten thousand years are too long,
Seize the day, seize the hour !
The Four Seas are rising, clouds and waters raging,
The Five Continents are rocking, wind and thunder roaring.
Our force is irresistible,
Away with all the pests !
– a lu shi
Winter clouds snow-laden, cotton fluff flying,
None or few the unfallen flowers.
Chill waves sweep through steep skies,
Yet earth’s gentle breath grows warm.
Only heroes can quell tigers and leopards
And wild bears never daunt the brave.
Plum blossoms welcome the whirling snow;
Small wonder flies freeze and perish.
Militia Women – Inscription on a Photograph
– a jue ju
How bright and brave they look,
shouldering five-foot rifles
On the parade ground lit up by
the first gleams of day.
China’s daughters have high-aspiring minds,
They love their battle array,
not silks and satins.
Guo Moruo’s Poem
On Seeing The Monkey Subdue The Demon
– a lu shi
Confounding humans and demons, right and wrong,
The monk was kind to foes and vicious to friends.
Endlessly he intoned “The Incantation of The Golden Hoop”,
And thrice he let the White Bone Demon escape.
The monk deserved to be torn limb from limb;
Plucking a hair means nothing to the wonder-worker.
All praise is due to such timely teaching,
Even the pig grew wiser than the fools.
– to the tune of Yi Qin E
Fierce the west wind,
Wild geese cry under the frosty morning moon.
Under the frosty morning moon
Horses’ hooves clattering,
Bugles sobbing low.
Idle boast, the strong pass is a wall of iron,
With firm strides we are crossing its summit.
We are crossing its summit,
The rolling hills sea-blue,
The dying sun blood-red.
Mao Zedong (1893-1976) tried to exemplify the well-rounded
Revolutionary, and so composed poetry in the moment – even while
leading “The Long March” over the mountain pass at Loushan.
The poem above was written in a type of verse called “ci”,
a form established during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.)
The “ci” poem was always written to be sung – and with a
particular tune in mind.
Mao as poet wrote in other classical verse forms as well
– like “lu” and “jue”, both of the “shi” form –
while proclaiming heroically his subject matter.
“Shi”, a classical Chinese verse form with strict tonal patterns and
rhyme schemes, also dates back to the Tang Dynasty.