Written in the Night of New Year’s Eve
- Poetry of Gao Shi

《除夜作》

- Last updated: 2024-03-15 16:39:41

Written in the Night of New Year’s Eve by Gao Shi
中文原文

旅馆寒灯独不眠,客心何事转凄然。

故乡今夜思千里,霜鬓明朝又一年。

Written in the Night of New Year’s Eve

English Translation

In the cold of the tavern lamplight, unslept, alone am I;

This heart of mine, in sojourn, turned sad, O why? I sigh.

Tonight, O I wish I were home, yet a thousand miles away; 

Come tomorrow, my hair grayed, another year’s gone by!

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)

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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