On Hearing the Flute in Yellow Crane Tower
- Poetry of Li Bai (Li Po)


- Last updated: 2023-12-20 15:25:44

On Hearing the Flute in Yellow Crane Tower by Li Bai (Li Po)



English Translation

Since I was banished to the riverside town,

Looking westward,I've found no house I'd call my own

Hearing in Yellow Crane Tower the flute's sad tune,

I seem to see mume blossoms fall in the fifth moon.

The mume blossoms blow in winter or spring,not in summer (the fifth moon). Hearing the flute,the poet became so sad as to take summer for winter.

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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