For the Tenant of My Thatched Hall
- Poetry of Du Fu

《又呈吴郎》

- Last updated: 2024-03-27 21:56:31

For the Tenant of My Thatched Hall by Du Fu
中文原文

堂前扑枣任西邻,无食无儿一妇人。

不为困穷宁有此?只缘恐惧转须亲。

即防远客虽多事,使插疏篱却甚真。

已诉征求贫到骨,正思戎马泪盈巾。


English Translation

Let your west neighbor pick up dates before the hall!

A sonless woman now in want of food and all.

Could she pick dates if she were not poor to excess?

You should be kind to her to make her fear you less.

She might be over cautious to be kept away.

Why should you put up a fence in your neighbor’s way?

Stricken to the bones, so pitiable she appears.

Thinking of the war flames, how can I not shed tears!

This poem shows the author’s deep sympathy and care for the poor people through the description of persuading Wu Lang to let the widow beat dates.

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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