- Poetry of Chen Tao


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

Turkestan by Chen Tao



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.


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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