Overflowing
- Poetry of Du Fu

《漫成》

- Last updated: 2024-03-25 10:18:40

Overflowing by Du Fu
中文原文

江月去人只数尺,风灯照夜欲三更。

沙头宿鹭联拳静,船尾跳鱼拨剌鸣。


English Translation

The moon's reflected on the river a few feet away,

A lantern shines in the night near the third watch.

On the sand, egrets sleep, curled up peacefully,

Behind the boat I hear the splash of jumping fish.

This poem dates from 766.

The night was divided into five watches, so the third watch is around midnight.

· PreSunset
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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