On a Spring Day Thinking of Li Bai
- Poetry of Du Fu


- Last updated: 2024-04-06 20:05:44

On a Spring Day Thinking of Li Bai by Du Fu





English Translation

Li Bai—poems unrivaled,

thought soaring airborne, never banal:

the freshness, newness of Yu the Commander,

the rare excellence of Adjutant Bao.

Here by the northern Wei, springtime trees;

east of the Yangzi, clouds at the close of day—

when will we share a cask of wine,

once more debate the subtleties of the written word?

Yu Xin (513–581), who held the title of Commander Unequaled in Honor, and Bao Zhao (414–466),who held a military post late in life, were two of the most distinguished poets of the period preceding the Tang.

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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