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Ebridge Cross-culture and Comprehensive Art series II-1 was published by Jinan University Press May, 2013

by Luo Binwang (619-687)(Tang Dynasty)

Listen to Shirley Reciting the Poems in Chinese and Singing Them in Chinese and English
Listen to Shirley Reciting and Singing the Poems in Chinese
Listen to Shirley Singing the Poems in English
Listen to Shirley Singing the Poems in English and in Chinese
Follow the Music to Sing the Poems by Yourself
Follow Me to Read the Poem and Chinese Characters

Original Poem, Lyrics of the Song in Chinese and Pronunciations

You can click on any Chinese Character to open the New Character Board and see its Chinese pinyin, meaning, pronunciation and follow my reading, you can also click on the links to enter the Painting Column, to see more paintings and art notes that I wrote for the poem.


ơtn 618-907
lu bnwn 619-687

衪q (q)    xin xin tin
ëˮbi mo f l shu
Ʋ岨hn zhn b qn b

衪q (Q)    xin xin tin
ëˮbi mo f l shu
Ʋ岨hn zhn b qn b
岨b qn b

The Main Meaning of the Poem and the Lyrics of the Song in English

Singing About Geese

By Luo Binwang (619-687)
Tang Dynasty (618-907)

Geese, geese, geese,
bend their necks to sing to the sky,
white feathers are floating on the green water,
red feet are paddling the clear waves.
Paddling the clear waves.

Geese, geese, geese,
bend their necks to sing to the sky,
White feathers are floating on the green water,
red feet are paddling the clear waves.
Paddling the clear waves.

About the Poet

Luo Binwang lu bn wn (619-687) was born in Yiwu    in today's Zhejiang Province.He was from a poor family, but he could write poems when he was just 7 years old, and so he was called a Wonder Child.

Luo Binwang was a famous poet in the early Tang Dynasty, and he was one of the Chu Tang Si JieĽܣfour greatest poets (the other three were Wang Bo, Yang Jiong and Lu Shaoling) of the early Tang Dynasty.In 684, when Xu Jingye started a war against Empress Wu Zetian, he wrote a famous    call to arms Wei Xu Jingye Tao Wu Zhao XiΪ쾴ҵϭa declaration of war against Wu Zhao on behalf of Xu Jingye, in which he put the Empress Wu Zetian in the dock and read out her crimes.This became one of the best calls to arms in Chinese history such that even Empress Wu Zetian herself said it was the fault of her prime minister that a person with such talent had got unnoticed and had come down in the world with no opportunity to develop himself.After Xu Jingye failed, Luo Binwang's whereabouts was unknown and there were two accounts of what might have happened to him.One version said that he was killed, the other version said that he became a monk.

Stories About Geese

In ancient China, some princes and nobles raised geese to use as guard birds.They    used watchdogs    in a similar way.
It is said, in Jin Dynasty265-420, the sage of CalligraphyMr.Wang Xizhi (303-361) quite loved geese.No matter where there were good geese, he was eager to see them, or buy and raise them.

Mr.Wang Xizhi enjoyed the qualities of geesethey do not hurry when they walk.They are leisurely and carefree when they swim.He thought that to raise geese would not only edify peoples' good sentiment, but    through learning about the posture and the attitude of the geese, it    also could help people to learn that something natural is just the most beautiful and to understand the secret of calligraphy's writing movements.

He thought, when we hold a Chinese brush, the forefinger should be like the head of a goose, lifted and a little bent; when we run the brush, we should work like a goose's webbed feet paddling the water, then we can focus on the artistic conception of what is being written.

Here are two stories about how he loved geese:
One morning, Mr.Wang Xizhi and his son (a calligrapher) Wang Xianzhi visited Shaoxi.As their boat went by Xiang Village, he was so attracted by the lovely style of a family of white geese which were waddling and dillydalliying along the river bank    that he wanted to buy them.

Then Mr.Wang Xizhi asked the Taoist monk nearby if he would sell them to him.The Taoist monk responded, if you wanted them, please write a Huang Ting Jing (a Taoist scripture) for us.Since Mr.Wang Xizhi really loved the geese, he happily agreed.

Another story:
Mr.Wang Xizhi lived in Lan Ting in today's Zhejiang province.He built a pool specially for raising geese and named it ch Goose Pool.By his Goose Pool he built a stele and a pavilion.

It is said that, one day,Mr.Wang Xizhi was writing the characters chGoose Pool. When he had just completed the first character, Goose, a minister came to Wang's home with a decree from the emperor, Wang had to put down his brush and went out to accept the decree of the emperor.His son, Mr.Wang Xianzhi who was also a great calligrapher found that his father had just written one character,쨦, so he took up the brush and wrote the other word,أ訪 .

Both the characters are very similar and harmonious.Since then, the story of the two characters on the same stele written by the father and the son has become an anecdote and passed down through the ages, and the Goose Pool has been a scenic spot for tourists for about 1,500 years.

Enjoy the Poem

This poem was written when Luo Binwang was 7 years old,about 100 years after Wang Xizhi passed away.

From the angle of a child, seeing how the geese swim and play in the water, it is very lively and vivid.

The first two lines : , , ,    ,q xin xin tin Geese, geese, geese, bend their necks to sing to the sky.

These lines describe the sounds of the geese, their features and how they sing.They sing by bending their necks, instead of extending their necks, which is quite an exact expression.

The last two lines: ëˮƲ岨    bi mo f l shu, hn zhn b qn b White feathers are floating on the green water, red (webbed) feet are paddling the clear waves.

These two lines catch the activities and the colors of the geese, to write about the scene and how the geese swim in the water.

With the verbsffloat andbpaddle, to describe the activities of the geese, how they swim or play in the water,with the phrases white feathers, red feet, green water and clear waves, to write about what the geese look like and where they are playing, these lines create a beautiful picture with bright colors and lightfooted activities.The three words , , geese, geese, geese in the first line add sounds to the picture, so we can not only see the geese on the water, but also, we can hear the little poet's sounds, or the sounds of the geese.I mean that    we can imagine the three words, , are the sounds uttered by the little poet, and we can also imagine they are sounds of the geese themselves, which are their cries.

The whole of the little poem is joyous, natural and lifelike.It sees and sings about geese from a child's viewpoint, very simple and full of childlike fun,so it is very popular in China.Since it was created, it has been enjoyed by Chinese children and adults.Many people are able to recite it before they enter elementary school.


When I read this poem once more today, I can not help thinking how such a young child could absorb things in such details and create such a wonderful poem that has been handed down through    generations for about 1,400 years.Apart from his talent, maybe it was because he had childlike innocence?

With this idea, I am thinking, if an artist wants to create something natural,fresh and beautiful, besides having some artistic skills, maybe he should also have a childlike innocence inside.If we put aside utilitarianism and observe the world with a pure heart and impersonal attitude, can we then really pick up something true and objective and so create something transcendent, elegant and miraculous?

With an appreciative heart for the    poet, I translated this poem in April, 2005 and created a piece of music for it in Oct., 2006.As my assignments at Chinese National Academy of Arts, I painted three paintings to match the music and the poem in 2011 and in 2012.

I do hope that my effort will be of some help for you in learning Chinese language and culture.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please write to