A Note Left for an Absent Ecluse
- Poetry of Jia Dao

《寻隐者不遇》

- Last updated: 2024-04-16 19:03:21

A Note Left for an Absent Ecluse by Jia Dao
中文原文

松下问童子,言师采药去。

只在此山中,云深不知处。


English Translation

When I questioned your pupil, under a pine-tree,

"My teacher," he answered, " went for herbs,

But toward which corner of the mountain,

How can I tell, through all these clouds ?"

Five-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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