Thinking of My Garden in Chang'an on the Double Ninth Festival
- Poetry of Cen Shen

《行军九日思长安故园》

- Last updated: 2024-06-18 17:29:54

Thinking of My Garden in Chang'an on the Double Ninth Festival by Cen Shen
中文原文

强欲登高去,无人送酒来。

遥怜故园菊,应傍战场开。


English Translation

I may exert myself to climb a mountain or hill,

But there's no one to supply me with wine.

I sorrow for the chrysanthemums in my own garden:

They must be blooming, but with the grim battlefield nearby.

The poem is titled "Ascending to the Heights at Chung Yeung", which expresses not the general holiday homesickness, but the worry about the state affairs and the deep concern about the people's hardship in the war.

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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