Two poems to mark Qingming Festival – the start of warm weather
Today marks the Qingming Festival (清明节), one of the most important traditional festivals in China.
Qingming (清明) in Chinese mean 'clearness' and 'brightness' – marking the start of warm weather in spring. This festival is also called Tomb Sweeping Day, as it is the time for Chinese people to pay respect to their ancestors by cleaning tombs and placing offerings.
The festival is also linked to traditional outdoor activities like flying kites and going for walks. Traditional Chinese Confucian values around family – including respect for elders, love and caring – are at the heart of the festival.
To mark the day, CGTN Europe choose two poems: Hand by contemporary Chinese poet Kai Lan, and When You Are Old by Irish poet WB Yeats.
Hand is read by Kai Lan, the poet herself, and When You Are Old by Fiachra Mac Góráin, a professor at University College London.
Hand could be interpreted as exploring romantic love, maternal affection, spiritual faith, or self-belief.
Meanwhile, When You Are Old is widely thought to have been written by Yeats for his lover, the Irish revolutionary Maud Gonne. The poem explores themes such as the reality of passing time, the brevity of life, and the importance of love. The Chinese translation has several different versions; below is the work from famous Chinese writer Bing Xin (冰心).