Crows Going Back to Their Nest - Satire on the King of Wu
- Poetry of Li Bai (Li Po)


- Last updated: 2024-03-20 14:57:19

Crows Going Back to Their Nest - Satire on the King of Wu by Li Bai (Li Po)





English Translation

O'er Royal Terrace when crows flew back to their nest,

The king in Royal Palace feast'd his mistress drunk.

The Southern maidens sang and danced without rest 

Till beak-like mountain-peaks would peck the sun half-sunk.

The golden clepsydra could not stop water's flow,

O'er river waves the autumn moon was hanging low.

But wouldn't the king enjoy his fill in Eastern glow?

The King of Wu held perpetual revelries with his favorite mistress Xi Shi in his Royal Palace in the 5th century B.C.

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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