For My Two Children in East Lu
Mulberry leaves in Southern land are green;
The silkworms thrice in sleep must have been.
In Eastern Lu my family stays still.
Who’d help to sow our fields north of Lu Hill?
It’s now too late to do farm work of spring.
What then am I to do while traveling?
The southern wind is blowing without stop;
My heart flies back to my old familiar wine-shop.
East of the shop there’s a peach tree oft missed;
Its branches must be waving in bluish mist.
It is the tree I planted three years ago;
If it has grown to reach the eaves, I don’t know.
I have not been at home for three long years;
I can imagine my daughter appears
Beside the tree and plucks a flower pink,
Without seeing me, she must have, I think,
Shed copious tears.
My younger son has grown
Up to his sister’s shoulders.
Peach tree they stand side by side.
But who’s there
To pat them on the back?
I feel, whene’er
I think of this, so painful that I write
And send to them this poem on silk white.
The poet shows his paternal love for his son and daughter in East Lu (Shandong).
The poem “For My Two Children in East Lu” is a poem written by Li Bai, a great poet of the Tang Dynasty, who missed his daughter Pingyang and son Boqi in Yanzhou, East Lu, during his visit to Jinling (present-day Nanjing, Jiangsu Province). The poem is like a letter from home, with simple language and delicate strokes, from the eyes of the foreground to the children living in East China.