A Guest Arrives ( A Hearty Welcome to Vice-prefect Cui )
- Poetry of Du Fu


- Last updated: 2024-02-24 22:19:06

A Guest Arrives ( A Hearty Welcome to Vice-prefect Cui ) by Du Fu





English Translation

North of me, south of me, spring is in flood,

Day after day I have seen only gulls....

My path is full of petals -- I have swept it for no others.

My thatch gate has been closed -- but opens now for you.

It's a long way to the market, I can offer you little --

Yet here in my cottage there is old wine for our cups.

Shall we summon my elderly neighbour to join us,

Call him through the fence, and pour the jar dry?


This poem was probably written in 760,after Du Fu had moved into his famous "thatched hut".

The guest was Prefect Cui, possibly an uncle of the poet's.

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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