Lament for My Son Cui
- Poetry of Bai Juyi


- Last updated: 2024-03-31 16:20:43

Lament for My Son Cui by Bai Juyi





English Translation

A pearl that lasted for but three years;

and now my temples are white than snow; 

at sixty I never imagined that you would precede me into the shady world;

I felt sad that I would not live long enough to see you blossom; 

now my heart is cut by a sword; 

weeping so much,

I have become half blind; 

how I miss the feel of you in my arms; 

I have become like Deng You of ancient days.

Deng You (?-326) allowed his own child to die while saving the life of his nephew.

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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