Lyrics to the Imperial Drive Melody
- Poetry of Fan Zhongyan


- Last updated: 2024-06-12 15:12:24

Lyrics to the Imperial Drive Melody by Fan Zhongyan







English Translation

Fallen leaves desultorily drift over pot plants lined stairs,

The night is still, bar a few murmurings of insects.

I roll up the beaded screens to admire the azure dome,

Clear is the sky, the Milky Way casts its shine towards the ground like drapes.

Every year this time, the moon beams smoothly like silk,

Yet thousands of miles away is the object of my affections.

Already rent is my heart, I cannot be more intoxicated,

Before I could further drink up, I've already more tears shed.

Lying askew is a pillow by the gleam of a dimming lamp,

How familiar I am with what it's like to in loneliness sleep and dwell.

So often reminded of this I am, it weighs on my mind and brows,

Yet there is nothing I can do to it fend.

FAN Zhongyan

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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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