Everlasting Longing
- Poetry of Bai Juyi

《长相思·汴水流》

- Last updated: 2024-03-25 09:39:31

Everlasting Longing by Bai Juyi
中文原文

汴水流,泗水流,流到瓜州古渡头。

吴山点点愁。

思悠悠,恨悠悠,恨到归时方始休。

月明人倚楼。


English Translation

See the Bian River flow

And the Si River flow!

By Ancient Ferry,mingling waves,they go,

The Southern hills reflect my woe.


My thought stretches endlessly,

My grief wretches endlessly,

So thus until my husband comes to me,

Alone on moon-lit balcony.

Bai Juyi (772-846)was a popular realistic poet who served as official in the south of the Yangzi River.This lyric depicts the longing of a young woman for the return of her husband.Leaning on the railings of a balcony on a moon-lit night,she sees the two rivers meet at the ancient ferry where people used to bid farewell,but where she cannot find her husband home-coming,so she feels the hills there saddened by her grief.

Why Chinese poems is so special?
The most distinctive features of Chinese poetry are: concision- many poems are only four lines, and few are much longer than eight; ambiguity- number, tense and parts of speech are often undetermined, creating particularly rich interpretative possibilities; and structure- most poems follow quite strict formal patterns which have beauty in themselves as well as highlighting meaningful contrasts.
How to read a Chinese poem?
Like an English poem, but more so. Everything is there for a reason, so try to find that reason. Think about all the possible connotations, and be aware of the different possibilities of number and tense. Look for contrasts: within lines, between the lines of each couplet and between successive couplets. Above all, don't worry about what the poet meant- find your meaning.

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