Yuan Changming, "Yin/Yang vs. Water/Fire: Lesson One in Chinese Characters"

Fire‐Setting as in California

灶 /zào/: an oven is built by setting a fire beside a pile of earth
灿 /càn/: splendid is the view of a fire sweeping over a mountain
烟 /yān/: smoke originates as a cause flickering like a spark
烦 /fán/: frustration occurs when a fire burns a page
烧 /shāo/: to burn something is to set a fire high on it
炒 /chăo/: to fry is to use little fire
烙 /lào/: to iron is to burn each and every spot
炉 /lú/: a stove is the fire burning in a household
炮 /pào/: a cannon is a fire wrapped tight

Water-Filled as in the Yangtze Valley

沙 /shā/: sand is something holding little water
河 /hé/: a river has water allowing everything possible
洗 /xĭ/: to wash is to put something into water first
波 /bō/: waves surge when water flows like skin
注 /zhù/: to focus is to be the master of water
源 /yuán/: a wellspring is the original water
泪 /lèi/: tears are water seeping from the eyes
洒 /să/: to spread is to throw water into the west
演 /yăn/: a performance is a show in respect for water
酒 /jiŭ/: wine is water fully matured



From The Malahat Review's fall issue #216.