Ballads of Four Seasons: Summer
- Poetry of Li Bai (Li Po)

《子夜四时歌四首 夏歌》

- Last updated: 2024-03-20 14:05:28

Ballads of Four Seasons: Summer by Li Bai (Li Po)

鏡湖三百里, 菡萏發荷花。

五月西施采, 人看隘若耶。

回舟不待月, 歸去越王家。

English Translation

On Mirror Lake outspread for miles and miles,

The lotus lilies in full blossom teem.

In fifth moon Xi Shi gathers them with smiles,

Watchers o'erwhelm the bank of Yuoye Stream.

Her boat turns back without waiting moonrise

To yoyal house amid amorous sighs.


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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