A Suggestion to My Friend Liu
- Poetry of Bai Juyi

《问刘十九》

- Last updated: 2023-12-21 22:27:05

A Suggestion to My Friend Liu by Bai Juyi
中文原文

绿蚁新醅酒,红泥小火炉。

晚来天欲雪,能饮一杯无?

A Suggestion to My Friend Liu

English Translation

There's a gleam of green in an old bottle,

There's a stir of red in the quiet stove,

There's a feeling of snow in the dusk outside --

What about a cup of wine inside?

Five-character-quatrain

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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