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松柏后凋 (The pine and the cypress are the last to wither)
“Chengyu” are typically four character Chinese proverbs that have stories tied to them. I grew up learning and memorizing them during Saturday Chinese school classes, and always loved how each character contributed to the meaning of the whole. This one, Song Bai Hou Diao, is roughly translated into the pine and the cypress are the last to wither, symbolizing one’s resilience through rough times.
松柏后凋 The pine and the cypress are the last to wither
Pine and cypress are the last to wither
Even when winter’s cold comes hither
Their age is seen in delicate lace
Jutting outwards like feathers,
Filling frost’s cold space.
Pine and cypress raise fruits of bronze
Feeding even the smallest birds of song
Layered scales protect their seeds
Hanging like ornaments
Richness they feed
Pine and cypress record the past
With rings of wood made to long last
Every challenge they’re forced to face
Selfishness or chance
They persevere with grace
Even when hellfire turns to fall
Pine and cypress will always stand tall
For when the blankets lay,
Their endurance and character
Will always stay.
Editors: Joyce S., Nicole O.
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