Dim Scent
- Poetry of Jiang Kui


- Last updated: 2024-06-21 10:51:31

Dim Scent by Jiang Kui









English Translation

Aged moonlight, how many times

have you shone on me, beside the plum blossoms?

Listening to the sound of flute.

Wake up, love—despite the air being cold

like washed jade, we climbed

to pluck the newest buds. Now,

as I’ve aged, my oblivious brushstrokes too weak

to recite the Spring wind, the sparse,

rose-colored dapples beyond the bamboo forest

sending a sharp fragrance.


The water provinces, desolate.

I want to send you this sprig of plum blossoms

tonight. Tonight, snow piles

for ten thousand miles. The emerald wine glass

weeps against the damp petals.

Remember where we held hands, the moment

when a thousand trees suddenly

bent crimson beside a lake.

Then piece by piece, taken by the wind.

These assembled past … when, again, will I see?

Jiang Kui, 1155–1221, Southern Song Dynasty

· PreCoal
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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