Yellow River, what happened to your waters?


Yellow River, what happened to your waters?

 When we drive over the long bridge, only drops remain

Once, River of Sorrow, you were the fear of many

Bursting your banks and millions drowned

Now your hazy sludge is a trickle

Mudflats and houses

Lie under the long bridge, Yellow River.


Yellow River, did you come from Heaven,

Like the poet said a long time ago?

They must be mining for coal up in heaven

Yellow River, if so.


Was the mountain God angry when they mined it for gold

Right up near heaven at the Yellow River’s source?

Only a trickle left in the Central Plains heartlands

Yellow River, you have gone of course

Running dry thirty times in the last fifty years

How can a Mother River consist of only sand?

A quarter of what still remains of your waters

Soon gone, lost, to the coal mines of Shaanxi

Yellow River.


Muddy, yellow-brown rush of a stream

Sediment rushing water to the Yellow Sea.


The Yellow River is China’s Mother River, known as the birthplace of Chinese civilisation.

The source river has been degraded by gold mining and the middle sectors threatened by the mining of coal.

Driving across the long bridge over what was once a wide flow of river is staggering – kilometres pass over semi-rural lands and sandbanks. The river in its entirety has dried up 30 times since 1972.

The delta area – once historically changing its course from the south to the north – is a mess of sediment that still changes the place it enters into the sea. Levees and seawalls have been built, attempting to stop erosion in the delta area.

What will happen to the Mother River’s waters?


Li Bai, the great poet of the  Tang Dynasty,  said this


Jūn bù jiàn,


bēnliú dào hǎi bù fù huí;

 Lord, can’t you see

How ( the Yellow River) flows at great speed to the ocean, never to return 



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