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

《听蜀僧濬弹琴》

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

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

蜀僧抱绿绮,西下峨眉峰。

为我一挥手,如听万壑松。

客心洗流水,馀响入霜钟。

不觉碧山暮,秋云暗几重。


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.

Five-character-regular-verse

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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