From an Upper Story
- Poetry of Du Fu


- Last updated: 2024-04-25 21:43:56

From an Upper Story by Du Fu





English Translation

Flowers, as high as my window, hurt the heart of a wanderer

For I see, from this high vantage, sadness everywhere.

The Silken River, bright with spring, floats between earth and heaven

Like a line of cloud by the Jade Peak, between ancient days and now.

...Though the State is established for a while as firm as the North Star

And bandits dare not venture from the western hills,

Yet sorry in the twilight for the woes of a longvanished Emperor,

I am singing the song his Premier sang when still unestranged from the mountain.


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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