Poetic Thoughts on Ancient Sites IV
- Poetry of Du Fu

《咏怀古迹五首之四》

- Last updated: 2024-05-08 20:02:49

Poetic Thoughts on Ancient Sites IV by Du Fu
中文原文

蜀主窥吴幸三峡,崩年亦在永安宫。

翠华想像空山里,玉殿虚无野寺中。

古庙杉松巢水鹤,岁时伏腊走村翁。

武侯祠堂常邻近,一体君臣祭祀同。


English Translation

The ruler of Shu had his eyes on Wu and progressed as far as the Three Gorges.

In the year of his demise, too, he was in the Palace of Eternal Peace.

The blue-green banners can be imagined on the empty mountain,

The jade palace is a void in the deserted temple.

In the pines of the ancient shrine aquatic cranes nest;

At summer and winter festivals the comers are village elders.

The Martial Marquis's memorial shrine is ever nearby;

In union, sovereign and minister share the sacrifices together.

Seven-character-regular-verse

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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