On Meeting a Messenger to the Capital
- Poetry of Cen Shen

《逢入京使》

- Last updated: 2024-05-13 10:52:46

On Meeting a Messenger to the Capital by Cen Shen
中文原文

故园东望路漫漫,双袖龙钟泪不干。

马上相逢无纸笔,凭君传语报平安。

On Meeting a Messenger to the Capital

English Translation

It's a long way home, a long way east.

I am old and my sleeve is wet with tears.

We meet on horseback. I have no means of writing.

Tell them three words: "He is safe."

Seven-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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