Lifestyle

Flowers and plants in ancient Chinese poems

Rachel
Publish DateJan 31, 2022
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Ancient Chinese poems heavily rely on metaphors and symbolism. 

Pear flowers

Song poet Cen Sen ingeniously used "pear flowers" to describe the spread of snowflakes on trees in winter. 

“忽如一夜春風來,千樹萬樹梨花開。”

"It was like a spring breeze overnight; bloomed pear flowers on a thousand trees."

Pear flowers could also be used to symbolize women in ancient poems. 

“玉容寂寞淚闌干,梨花一枝春帶雨。“

"The jade-like lonely face sheds tears, like spring raindrops hanging on pear flowers."

Chrysanthemums -

This flower is very versatile. It can symbolize strong will and resilience since it is the last standing flower before winter comes, and at the same time, it can also be used to memorialize melancholy and death. On top of that, chrysanthemums are also a common flower used to express one's desire to become a hermit. 

"不是花中偏愛菊,此花開盡更無花。“

”it's not that I favor chrysanthemums over other flowers, but rather there are no flowers after they bloom."

Plum flowers -

Plums are the only flowers that bloom in winter. Countless poets have attributed strengths and power to this flower. 

”零落成泥碾作塵,只有香如故。“

"Bits and pieces trampled over to dust, but the fragrance remains."

Peach blossoms - 

Peach blossoms are always used to symbolize happy times. 

"舞低楊柳樓心月,歌儘桃花扇底風。“

"danced until the moon lowers; sang until the peach blossom fan exhausted."

 

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