A Buddhist Retreat Behind Broken-mountain Temple
- Poetry of Chang Jian


- Last updated: 2024-04-25 11:48:41

A Buddhist Retreat Behind Broken-mountain Temple by Chang Jian





English Translation

In the pure morning, near the old temple,

Where early sunlight points the tree-tops,

My path has wound, through a sheltered hollow

Of boughs and flowers, to a Buddhist retreat.

Here birds are alive with mountain-light,

And the mind of man touches peace in a pool,

And a thousand sounds are quieted

By the breathing of a temple-bell.


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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