The Partridge Sky
- Poetry of He Zhu

《鹧鸪天·重过阊门万事非》

- Last updated: 2024-03-19 15:22:43

The Partridge Sky by He Zhu
中文原文

重过阊门万事非,同来何事不同归?

梧桐半死清霜后,头白鸳鸯失伴飞。

原上草,露初晞。旧栖新垅两依依。

空床卧听南窗雨,谁复挑灯夜补衣?


English Translation

All things have changed.Once more I pass the Gate.

We came together,I go back without my mate.

Bitten by hoary frost,half the parasol dies;

Life-long companion lost,one lonely love-bird flies.

Grass wet with dew 

Dries on the plain,

How can I leave our old abode and her grave new!

Lying in half empty bed,I hear the pelting rain.

Who will turn up the wick to mend my coat again?

This is an elegy written in memory of the poet's wife who lived together with the poet near the city gate of Suzhou,died in their abode and was buried in the graveyard.

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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