Blog Culture

Chinese Tang Poem: Weeding the Cereal Crops 锄禾

If you are my reader for some time, you might know I like introducing Tang poems on my blog for two reasons.

1, Tang poem is an important part of Chinese culture and language; 2, Reading Tang poem is a good way to learn Chinese characters.

If you or you wish your child to learn Tang poems, you can visit Tang poem playlist on my Youtube channel. Or you can search on my blog with the keyword “Tang poem.”

I made these videos to help my kids learn  beautiful Tang poems. I hope these videos are helpful for you as well.

In case you are interested, I will share how I teach my kids, especially my older kid, Tang poems.

My younger one is a bit young to learn Tang poems, but I do teach him kids songs.

When I teach my older kid Tang poems, I will have him watch the video by pointing to the character one by one.

Then I explain the meaning of each character and the poem, later, I will have him read the poem by himself by turning off the sound. He is allowed to have help for one word for the whole poem.

If my kid doesn’t know more than one word for one poem, I will have him watch the video one more time until he passes the test.

I will have my kid review all of Tang poems time by time until he knows well of every single character of each poem.

In this post, I am going to teach another well known Tang poem: Weeding the Cereal Crops 锄禾 written by poet Li, Shen from Tang Dynasty.


This poem is one of two poems with a title of “Pity the Peasants”.

In this poem, the poet expressed his empathy for the hard working peasants.

Let’s take a look at the poem.


锄禾日当午 (chú hé rì dāng wǔ ): When the peasant was weeding the cereal crops at the noon. 锄: weeding with a hoe; 禾: cereal crop; 日: sun; 当: when; 午: noon.

汗滴禾下土 (hàn dī hé xià tǔ ) : The peasant’s sweat dropped down to the soil. 汗: sweat; 滴: drop; 禾: cereal crop; 下: under, beneath; 土: soil, dirt.

谁知盘中餐 ( shuí zhī pán zhōng cān) : Who knows the meal in the plate. 谁: who; 知: know; 盘: plate; 中: among, middle, in; 餐: dish, meal.

粒粒皆辛苦 (lì lì jiē xīn kǔ ): Each rice is all from the hard work. 粒: measure word. Here it is a measure word for the “rice”. It can also be a measure for the sand, seed, salt etc. Now you get the idea, 粒 is usually a measure word for something tiny. 皆: all; 辛苦: hard, hard work.

Now you know the meaning of this poem. Let’s read the poem together. Enjoy your learning.

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