Seeing Li Bai in A Dream II
- Poetry of Du Fu

《梦李白·其二》

- Last updated: 2024-02-24 16:32:03

Seeing Li Bai in A Dream II by Du Fu
中文原文

浮云终日行,游子久不至。

三夜频梦君,情亲见君意。

告归常局促,苦道来不易。

江湖多风波,舟楫恐失坠。

出门搔白首,若负平生志。

冠盖满京华,斯人独憔悴。

孰云网恢恢,将老身反累。

千秋万岁名,寂寞身后事。


English Translation

This cloud, that has drifted all day through the sky,

May, like a wanderer, never come back....

Three nights now I have dreamed of you --

As tender, intimate and real as though I were awake.

And then, abruptly rising to go,

You told me the perils of adventure

By river and lake-the storms, the wrecks,

The fears that are borne on a little boat;

And, here in my doorway, you rubbed your white head

As if there were something puzzling you.

...Our capital teems with officious people,

While you are alone and helpless and poor.

Who says that the heavenly net never fails?

It has brought you ill fortune, old as you are.

...A thousand years' fame, ten thousand years' fame-

What good, when you are dead and gone.

Five-character-ancient-verse

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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