Song of Broken Chains
- Poetry of He Zhu

《捣练子·砧面莹》

- Last updated: 2024-03-19 15:23:04

Song of Broken Chains by He Zhu
中文原文

砧面莹,杵声齐,捣就征衣泪墨题。

寄到玉关应万里,戍人犹在玉关西。


English Translation

Regularly the beetle sounds 

As on the anvil stone it pounds.

After washing her warrior's dress,

With ink and tears she writes down his address.

The package goes a thousand miles to the Jade Pass,

But the warrior is stationed farther west,alas!

He Zhu (1052-1125)was also a follower of Su Shi.This lyric depicts a washerwoman sending winter garments to her husband stationed in a garrison town farther west than the Jade Pass on the northwestern frontier.

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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