Shi Jianwu

Shi Jianwu (AD 780 – 861)

Words of a Girl

A little girl of six years old

Oblivious to the clever and foolish

Twilight fell on the great hall

Where she learns to thank the new crescent


MD Notes/Analysis: This is actually intended to be more of a comedic poem. “学人” means scholar. However, considering the context of comparing children to adults,.”学人” could also be loosely interpreted as signifying adult as well.

The first line, “幼女才六岁,未知巧与拙”, is a very simple method of painting the image of a young, innocent child.
That is followed by, “向夜在堂前,学人拜新月”, which states that the girl is performing/learning the ceremony or rituals of the family. “堂” is a very tricky character to translate. The choice boils down to either temple or hall. Now, considering the context, it would be acceptable either way. However, rituals were generally performed in ancestral halls or the main hall.