To My Sons
- Poetry of Chen Jiru


- Last updated: 2024-06-26 11:15:17

To My Sons by Chen Jiru





English Translation

Life is complete

With children at your feet;

Just a handful of hay hides your cot.

If land is sterile,

A young calf will surely help a lot.

Teach thy sons to read, too, in spare hours,

Not for fame nor for Mandarin collars.

Brew your wine, plant bamboos, water flowers,

Thus a house for generations of scholars.

By Chen Jiru

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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