On Hearing Jun the Buddhist Monk From Shu Play His Lute
- Poetry of Li Bai (Li Po)


- Last updated: 2024-04-26 10:18:39

On Hearing Jun the Buddhist Monk From Shu Play His Lute by Li Bai (Li Po)





English Translation

The monk from Shu with his green silk lute-case,

Walking west down Omei Mountain,

Has brought me by one touch of the strings

The breath of pines in a thousand valleys.

I hear him in the cleansing brook,

I hear him in the icy bells;

And I feel no change though the mountain darken

And cloudy autumn heaps the sky.


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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