The North Wind
- Poetry of Li Bai (Li Po)


- Last updated: 2024-03-24 16:40:24

The North Wind by Li Bai (Li Po)











English Translation

The candle-holding Dragon curls o'er Polar Gate 

Only at dawn his flickering light will radiate.

Nor sun nor moon will shine there far and nigh,

Only the howling northern wind blows down from the sky.

The snowflakes from north mountains,big as pillows white,

Fall flake on flake upon Yellow Emperor's Height 

The twelfth moon sees the wife in lonely bower sit,

She will nor sing nor smile,with eyebrows tightly knit.

She leans against the door and looks at passers-by,

Thinking of her husband who with cold might shiver 

Beyond the Great Wall and sigh.

When he started,his sword in hand,

To save the borderland.

He left her two white-feathered arrows in a golden quiver.

The pair of arrows mid cobwebs and dust remain.

Her lord who fell in battle won't come back again.

How could she bear to see the tiger-striped quiver?

She tries to burn it into ashes.

Building a dam,we may stop the flow of Yellow River.

How could the northern wind assuage her grief that gashes!

1. According to Chinese myth,the North Pole was illuminated by the candle held by a dragon whose eyes would make day when opened and night when closed.

2. The Yellow Emperor was and is still believed to be ancestor of the Chinese people and inventor of south-seeking compass.

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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