Deconstructing Ancient Poems With Modern Poems: Chinese Poetry Gallery Project
Poetry is taught throughout the Chinese classes of Huitong children in all grades. Our children read, write, and discuss poems and use the genre of "poetry" as a medium for their unique creative explorations.
"Beyond the horizon, waters of rivers and creeks gush and flow. The mountainous landscape undulates varying scenes." Reading the poem by the great Chinese poet of Wang Wei, the G4 students joined their teachers for a tour filled with the beauty of nature in the first unit: watching the Bore Tides of the Qiantang River, taking a walk under the moon on the Erhai Lake, floating on the sea with stars... While reading, the children transformed static texts into images and vivid scenes, feeling the beauty of words and nature.
In this unit, the children in each class held a selection of works for the "Chinese Poetry and Painting Gallery." Ms. Jiang Jingjing said she was inspired by the poem "A Hut in the Deer Grounds" in the unit. "Because the main goal of this unit is to give children a sense of the images conveyed by the words, I associated it with the practice of using modern poems to deconstruct ancient poems." The children were asked to choose the poem they felt was the most vivid from the poems they had learned and interpret it themselves using modern poetry.
This was the first time the children had tried this type of writing practice, which was very challenging. They need to understand the ancient poem's content and emotion and use their creative and poetic thinking to interpret the poem on this basis. Despite the task's difficulty, the children still wrote some fantastic poems. Here, we would like to share some of their work, hoping that you can feel from the poems that our children are walking into the poems and the beauty of nature built by the words.
《鹿柴》王维 A Hut in the Deer Grounds - WANG Wei
The mountains appear uninhabited with not a person in sight,
Yet I hear people talking.
Light reflects and penetrates deep into the woods,
Shining on once shady moist moss.
Tr. Betty Tseng
《三衢道中》曾几 On the Way to Mt. Thoroughfare - ZENG Ji
Plums turn ripe, and it's sunny every day;
Having cruised the stream, I climb the hill.
The shade this way is as green as that way;
Four or five times more there rings orioles'trill.
Tr. ZHAO Yanchun
《江畔独步寻花》杜甫 A Flower Stroll Alone by Riverside - DU Fu
Flowers bloom all over Huang’s garden;
Twigs bend down with blossoms laden.
Butterflies linger, dancing now and then,
Sweet orioles with leisure sing just when.
《关山月》李白 （选段）The Moon at The Fortified Pass - LI Bai (excerpt)
From Heaven's Peak the moon rises bright,
Over a boundless sea of cloud.
Winds blow for miles with main and might
Past the Jade Gate which stands so proud.
Tr. XU Yuanchong
《浪淘沙》刘禹锡 Tidal Wave of the QianTang River - LIU Yuxi
In the eighth moon, the surf roared onto the land.
Its lofty crest dashed against the rock and turned back.
In a moment it recorded into the sea-gale,
Rolling up drifts of sand like snow.