This year, Qingming Festival falls on April 4. It is a day in China for family members to reunite and sweep the graves of the ancestors and the dead.

Today, at this Chinese holiday when people traditionally mourn the dead in their family, the whole country is honoring the patients and medical workers who passed away in this COVID-19 pandemic in China.

At this moment when the flag is lowered, the siren is going off in China, as a commemoration, I would like to share a poem by Bai Juyi and translated by John Digby and me, Spring Snow, when from yesterday until today a spring snow really fell, bringing the chill back to this Spring.



[唐] 白居易


Spring Snow
(Tang) Bai Juyi

During the sixth year of Yuanhe
at the reign of Emperor of Xuanzong (806-820)

In the second month
a blurry moon appeared
on the night of Cold Food Festival

With clouds came a heavy snow
falling throughout the night
and the following day

The whole landscape turned
into a dazzling white scene

Snowflakes appeared
as large a goose feather
and as thick as jade shards

The chill covered up mountain tops
almost immediately and
the river Qu was frozen again
after a brief interlude

Apricot blossoms were pinched
with sleet and dying
birch branches broken
and snapped with keen frost

I felt sadness about
the damage and destruction of nature
even when it runs its regular course

But unnatural phenomenon also
occurs life is turned inside out
upside down and all living creatures
suffer from the inclement conditions

I have observed the doctrines of the Sage
and in certain history texts there are
recorded instances when water didn’t freeze
frost did little or no damage

These unnatural phenomena
usually give a hint to
the government to maintain
its correct judicious duties and to
the mass of folk to watch
for coming possible disasters

Now what does this heavy snow forecast?
I believe this snowfall appears beautiful
we should just appreciate it

Just appreciate it


**Cold Food Festival is an old traditional holiday which occurs for three days until Qingming,  and this poem is from our poetry translation book specially on Cold Food Festival.