Poetic Thoughts on Ancient Sites I
- Poetry of Du Fu


- Last updated: 2024-05-08 19:57:51

Poetic Thoughts on Ancient Sites I by Du Fu





English Translation

Forlorn in the northeast among wind and dust,

Drifting in the southwest between heaven and earth,

Lingering for days and months in towers and terraces at the Three Gorges,

Sharing clouds and mountains with the costumes of the Five Streams.

The barbarian serving the ruler in the end was unreliable.

The wandering poet lamenting the times had no chance to return.

Yu Xin throughout his life was most miserable,

In his waning years his poetry stirred the land of rivers and passes.


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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