Walking Along The Riverbank Alone Enjoying The Flowers
- Poetry of Du Fu

《江畔独步寻花-其七》

- Last updated: 2024-06-23 10:32:02

Walking Along The Riverbank Alone Enjoying The Flowers by Du Fu
中文原文

不是爱花即肯死,只恐花尽老相催。

繁枝容易纷纷落,嫩蕊商量细细开。


English Translation

[If] not for loving flowers, [then it will be] longing till death,

Only afraid that flowers are a reminder of old age.

[Flowers on] luxuriant branches easily descends one after another, (All flowers bloom so brilliantly so that when time passes by they can urgently descend to the ground)

[I want to] discuss with budding flowers to open little by little. (If so, then I would like to discuss with the budding flowers, is it possible to bloom a little slower)

Du Fu actually wrote a set of seven poems under the same title, and the lines comes from the final one of them, number seven of seven.

The first poem speaks of enjoying the view of flowers alone is due to being annoyed by the flowers; the second poem speaks of the many flowers seen by the riverside; the third poem speaks of how a particular family’s flowers are richly red and white, and how busy they are to attend to all of them; the fourth poem describes overlooking a small town of flowers, thinking of people’s joy over the flowers blooming; the fifth poem speaks of the plum blossoms in front of the Huang Shi Tower; the sixth poem speaks of Huang Si Niang (the poet’s neighbour)’s home filled with flowers; and the seventh poem summarises his admiring of flowers, love for flowers, cherishing of flowers.

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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