Hard is the Way of the World II
- Poetry of Li Bai (Li Po)


- Last updated: 2024-04-23 22:16:32

Hard is the Way of the World II by Li Bai (Li Po)









English Translation

The way is broad like the blue sky,

But no way out before my eye.

I am ashamed to follow those who have no guts,

Gambling on fighting cocks and dogs for pears and nuts.

Feng would go homeward way, having no fish to eat;

Zhou did not think to bow to noblemen was meet.

General Han was mocked in the market-place;

The brilliant scholar Jia was banished in disgrace.

Have you not heard of King of Yan in days gone by,

Who venerated talents and built Terrace high

On which he offered gold to gifted men

And stooped low and swept the floor to welcome them?

Grateful, Ju Xin and Yue Yi came then

And served him heart and soul, both full of stratagem.

The King's bones were now buried,

who would sweep the floor of the Gold Terrace any more?

Hard is the way.

Go back without delay!


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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