A Palace Poem
- Poetry of Gu Kuang

《宫词》

- Last updated: 2024-05-14 21:18:25

A Palace Poem by Gu Kuang
中文原文

玉楼天半起笙歌,风送宫嫔笑语和。

月殿影开闻夜漏,水晶帘卷近秋河。


English Translation

High above, from a jade chamber, songs float half-way to heaven,

The palace-girls' gay voices are mingled with the wind --

But now they are still, and you hear a water-clock drip in the Court of the Moon....

They have opened the curtain wide, they are facing the River of Stars.

Seven-character-quatrain

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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