Turkestan
- Poetry of Chen Tao

《陇西行-其二》

- Last updated: 2024-05-15 11:39:11

Turkestan by Chen Tao
中文原文

誓扫匈奴不顾身,五千貂锦丧胡尘。

可怜无定河边骨,犹是春闺梦里人。


English Translation

Thinking only of their vow that they would crush the Tartars- -

On the desert, clad in sable and silk, five thousand of them fell....

But arisen from their crumbling bones on the banks of the river at the border,

Dreams of them enter, like men alive, into rooms where their loves lie sleeping.

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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