God of Grain

Dear God, our
field flows
afar. We have
grains to sow
and seeds to
choose. We must
prepare the
earth with a
sharpened plow.
I head for the
southern field,
its hundreds
of grain
valleys, long and large,
with grandson in
tow.
The valley rolls
black, seedless,
only now ready
for planting
season. The soil
was hard and
now ripe to be
broken, cleansed
of grass and
weed.
I pray to keep
the moths away
and all those
insect thieves
that eat root
and stalk,
sprouts and the
heart of grain.
Do not let them
harm our fertile fields!
You are the
ancestor of these fields,
their spirit—so set
the insects ablaze!
Clouds rise and
rise in puffs,
thriving clouds
along the sky:
God of Grains,
let it rain
on public lands
and then
on my private
patch as well.
We have no more
sprouts or grain
in silos—the
valley has lost
what it
contains:  there is no more grain.
Help the old
widow and her grandson
that cares for
her. She carries food
to the workers in
the southern field,
who joy in
seeing her.
We sacrifice to
you, God of Grain.
We give our pigs
and cows so that
we may enjoy the
blessings
of your grain.
We pray to you,
herald of all
our happiness.



Original Chinese
Traditional
Simplified
Pronunciation
大田
大田

tián
大田多稼,
大田多稼,

tián duō jià
既種既戒。
既种既戒。

zhǒng jì jiè
既備乃事,
乃事,

bèi nǎi shì
以我覃耜。
以我覃耜。

wǒ tán sì
俶載南畝,
chù
zài nán mǔ
播厥百谷。
播厥百谷。

jué bǎi gǔ
既庭且碩,
既庭且

tíng qiě shuò
曾孫是若。
是若。
zēng
sūn shì ruò
既方既皁,
既方既皁,

fāng jì zào
既堅既好,
既好,

jiān jì hǎo
不稂不莠。
不稂不莠。

láng bù yǒu
去其螟螣,
去其螟螣,

qí míng téng
及其蟊賊,
及其蟊

qí máo zéi
無害我田稚。
无害我田稚。

hài wǒ tián zhì
田祖有神,
田祖有神,
tián
zǔ yǒu shén
秉畀炎火。
秉畀炎火。
bǐng
bì yán huǒ
萋萋,
萋萋,
yǒu
yān qī qī
興雲祁祁。
云祁祁。
xīng
yún qí qí
雨我公田,
雨我公田,

wǒ gōng tián
遂及我私。
遂及我私。
suì
jí wǒ sī
彼有不獲稚,
彼有不稚,

yǒu bù huò zhì
此有不斂穧。
此有不穧。

yǒu bù liǎn jì
彼有遺秉,
彼有秉,

yǒu yí bǐng
此有滯穗,
此有滞穗,

yǒu zhì suì
伊寡婦之利。
伊寡之利。

guǎ fù zhī lì
曾孫來止,
来止,
zēng
sūn lái zhǐ
以其婦子。
以其子。

qí fù zǐ
彼南畝,
彼南

bǐ nán mǔ
田畯至喜。
田畯至喜。
tián
jùn zhì xǐ
來方禋祀,
来方禋祀,
lái
fāng yīn sì
以其黑,
以其黑,

qí xīng hēi
與其黍稷。
与其黍稷。

qí shǔ jì
以享以祀,
以享以祀,

xiǎng yǐ sì
以介景福。
以介景福。

jiè jǐng fú



Translation Notes
This is a poem
related to the Western Zhou Dynasty (1027-771 BC) and the sacrifice to the god
of agriculture in response to a bumper crop.
大田
Vast
Field
大田多稼,
Vast
field much sow-grain,
既種既戒。
Both
choose-seed both prepare.
既備乃事,
Both prepare then work,
以我覃耜。
Therefore
I sharpen plow.
俶載南畝,
Begin undertake southern fields,
播厥百谷。
Sow
it one-hundred valleys.
[One-hundred
valleys = all the grains]
既庭且碩,
Then straight also big,
曾孫是若。
Both
grandchild indeed follow.
[Both
grandchild = great grandson]
既方既皁,
Then
place both black,
[Place
= the valley is not yet seeded]
[Black
= the valley is only just then ready to be seeded]
既堅既好,
Then hard then good,
不稂不莠。
No
grass no weeds.
[Grass
= baby wheat, millet]
[No
grass no weeds = an idiom meaning useless, good-for-nothing]
去其螟螣,
Depart
that moth dragon,
[Moth
= insect that eats grain’s heart]
[Dragon
= insect that eats sprouts]
及其蟊賊,
Extend that fly thief,
[Extend that = and, as well]
[Fly thief = grain eating insects]
[Fly = eats the roots]
[Thief = eats the stalk]
無害我田稚。
No
harm my field young-sprouts.
田祖有神,
Field
ancestor has spirit,
秉畀炎火。
Gasp
gives flame fire.
[Preserve
field by burning a part of it]
萋萋,
Has rising-cloud abundant abundant,
[Abundant abundant = appearing as a row]
興雲祁祁。
Thrive
clouds vast vast.
[Vast
vast = numerous in appearance]
雨我公田,
Rain
my public field,
[Public
field = public lands under a well-field system]
遂及我私。
Thereupon
reach my private.
[My
private = private lands cleared for plowing outside the public lands]
彼有不獲稚,
These have no receive young,
此有不斂穧。
This
has no fold-back already-cut-and-not-yet-received-crops.
彼有遺秉,
That has lost valley-contains,
此有滯穗,
That has sluggish ear-of-grain,
[Sluggish ear-of-grain = discard the
grain]
伊寡婦之利。
She
widowed married-woman ’s interest.
[Widowed
married-woman = widow]
曾孫來止,
Both grandchild comes stops,
以其婦子。
Thereby
her married-woman child.
彼南畝,
Carry-meal-to-workers-in-field that
southern fields,
田畯至喜。
Field
overseer reach joyful.
來方禋祀,
Come
region offer-sacrifice to-sacrifice,
以其黑,
Thereby her red black,
[Red black = pigs and cows]
與其黍稷。
And
that millet god-of-cereals.
[And
that = rather than]
以享以祀,
Thereby
enjoy thereby worship,
以介景福。
Thereby
herald scenery happiness.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.