A View of the Wilderness ( Viewing the Plain )
- Poetry of Du Fu


- Last updated: 2024-04-25 21:45:28

A View of the Wilderness ( Viewing the Plain ) by Du Fu





English Translation

Snow is white on the westward mountains and on three fortified towns,

And waters in this southern lake flash on a long bridge.

But wind and dust from sea to sea bar me from my brothers;

And I cannot help crying, I am so far away.

I have nothing to expect now but the ills of old age.

I am of less use to my country than a grain of dust.

I ride out to the edge of town. I watch on the horizon,

Day after day, the chaos of the world.


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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