Beginning of Spring
- Poetry of Du Fu


- Last updated: 2024-06-26 10:46:37

Beginning of Spring by Du Fu





English Translation

For spring’s first day, “spring plates” with slender shoots,

at once I recall the two capitals, the time when plums come out.

Plates went forth from noble gates bringing that white jade,

the foods were carried by dainty hands bringing threads of green.

The Wu Gorges, the cold river – how can I bear to face them?

The far wayfarer from Duling feels unbearable sorrow.

Since this body does not know where to go to rest,

I call to the lad to find paper and I write a poem.

“Spring plates” refers to the custom by which the ruler presented his ministers with an array of early vegetable sprouts. These were also exchanged among family and friends.

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.

List of Chinese poets

© 2024 Chinese Poems in English