See a Friend Off to Wu
- Poetry of Du Xunhe

《送人游吴》

- Last updated: 2024-06-04 10:54:27

See a Friend Off to Wu by Du Xunhe
中文原文

君到姑苏见,人家尽枕河。

古宫闲地少,水港小桥多。

夜市卖菱藕,春船载绮罗。

遥知未眠月,乡思在渔歌。


English Translation

I see you to Ku-su.

Homes there, sleeping by the stream.

Ancient palace, few abandoned spots.

And by the harbor, many little bridges.

In the night market, lotus, fruit and roots.

On the spring barges, satins and gauze.

Know, far off, the moon still watches.

Think of me there, in the fisherman’s song.

(J. P. Seaton 译)

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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