Remembering South of the River
- Poetry of Bai Juyi

《忆江南》

- Last updated: 2024-03-25 09:53:43

Remembering South of the River by Bai Juyi
中文原文

江南好,风景旧曾谙:

日出江花红胜火,春来江水绿如兰。

能不忆江南?


English Translation

South of the river is good,

Long ago, I knew the landscape well.

At sunrise, the river's flowers are red like fire,

In spring, the river's water's green as lilies.

How could I not remember south of the river?

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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