Mountain-stones
- Poetry of Han Yu

《山石》

- Last updated: 2024-04-22 14:35:47

Mountain-stones by Han Yu
中文原文

山石荦确行径微,黄昏到寺蝙蝠飞。

升堂坐阶新雨足,芭蕉叶大栀子肥。

僧言古壁佛画好,以火来照所见稀。

铺床拂席置羹饭,疏粝亦足饱我饥。

夜深静卧百虫绝,清月出岭光入扉。

天明独去无道路,出入高下穷烟霏。

山红涧碧纷烂漫,时见松枥皆十围。

当流赤足踏涧石,水声激激风吹衣。

人生如此自可乐,岂必局束为人鞿。

嗟哉吾党二三子,安得至老不更归。


English Translation

Rough were the mountain-stones, and the path very narrow;

And when I reached the temple, bats were in the dusk.

I climbed to the hall, sat on the steps, and drank the rain- washed air

Among the round gardenia-pods and huge bananaleaves.

On the old wall, said the priest, were Buddhas finely painted,

And he brought a light and showed me, and I called them wonderful

He spread the bed, dusted the mats, and made my supper ready,

And, though the food was coarse, it satisfied my hunger.

At midnight, while I lay there not hearing even an insect,

The mountain moon with her pure light entered my door....

At dawn I left the mountain and, alone, lost my way:

In and out, up and down, while a heavy mist

Made brook and mountain green and purple, brightening everything.

I am passing sometimes pines and oaks, which ten men could not girdle,

I am treading pebbles barefoot in swift-running water --

Its ripples purify my ear, while a soft wind blows my garments....

These are the things which, in themselves, make life happy.

Why should we be hemmed about and hampered with people?

O chosen pupils, far behind me in my own country,

What if I spent my old age here and never went back home?

Seven-character-ancient-verse

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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