Zhang Zhihe Poems with English Translations: Tune: A Fisherman’s Song– 张志和《渔歌子·西塞山前白鹭飞》

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Tune: A Fisherman’s Song

Zhang Zhihe

In front of western hills white egrets fly up and down,

In peach-mirrored stream mandarin fish are full grown.

In my blue bamboo hat

And green straw cloak, I’d fain

Go fishing careless of slanting wind and fine rain.

Zhang Zhihe (730—782) served in the court as a petty official and then retired to the river-side and lived in seclusion. This poem describing the happiness of a fisherman was wide spread and soon reached Japan. Even the Japanese Emperor (reigned 804—823) wrote five lyrics following the rhyme of his poem.


“Tune: A Fisherman’s Song” is a poem written by Zhang Zhihe, a poet of the Tang Dynasty. The first two sentences of this word write the fishing place and season. In these two sentences, there are mountains, water, birds, flowers and fish, which outline a beautiful fishing environment and pave the way for the characters to appear. The last two sentences of the word write fishing on the smoke wave. The “gentle breeze and gentle rain” in the last sentence is not only a realistic description of the scenery, but also a profound meaning. This poem expresses the author’s yearning for free life by praising the natural scenery and fisherman’s fishing.

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