Thinking of Li Bai at the End of the Sky
- Poetry of Du Fu

《天末怀李白》

- Last updated: 2024-04-26 10:46:37

Thinking of Li Bai at the End of the Sky by Du Fu
中文原文

凉风起天末,君子意如何?

鸿雁几时到?江湖秋水多。

文章憎命达,魑魅喜人过。

应共冤魂语,投诗赠汨罗。


English Translation

Cold wind rises at the end of the sky,

What thoughts occupy the gentleman's mind?

What time will the wild goose come?

The rivers and lakes are full of autumn's waters.

Literature and worldly success are opposed,

Demons exult in human failure.

Talk together with the hated poet,

Throw a poem into Miluo river.

This poem dates from 759.

The wild goose is a symbol of autumn, letters and travellers in difficulties; Hawkes suggests that the latter is the relevant association here.

· PreFor Hua Qing
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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