My temples covered with white hair,
My skin wrinkled, my muscles slack.
Though I have five sons, none would care
To read or write in white or black.
My eldest son is now twice eight,
But lazy as him none appears.
My second son won’t dedicate
Himself to arts at fifteen years.
My third and fourth sons at thirteen
Know not how much makes six plus seven.
My youngest son has nine years green;
’Mid pears and nuts he is in heaven.
If such be the decree divine,
What can I do but drink my wine?
The poem “Blaming Sons” is a five-line poem written by Tao Yuanming, a poet of the late Jin and early Song dynasties. The poem was written when Tao Yuanming was in his forties. The poet scolds his sons for not seeking advancement and for falling too far short of what he had hoped for, and encourages them to study hard and become good talents, revealing the poet’s deep affection for his sons and reflecting his ardent expectations for them. The poem is full of deep and sincere feelings, and the language is funny and humorous.