Reading Laozi
- Poetry of Bai Juyi


- Last updated: 2024-03-25 09:50:18

Reading Laozi by Bai Juyi



Reading Laozi

English Translation

Those who speak do not know, those who know are silent,

I heard this saying from the old gentleman.

If the old gentleman was one who knew the way,

Why did he feel able to write five thousand words?

By Bai Juyi

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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