On Lake Dongting (One of Five Poems)
- Poetry of Li Bai (Li Po)


- Last updated: 2023-12-21 15:09:21

On Lake Dongting (One of Five Poems) by Li Bai (Li Po)



English Translation

Vaporless is the Southern Lake on autumn night.

Could we be borne to Heaven by the rising tide?

If we could borrow from Lake Dongting the moonlight 

To guide us skyward,we'd drink with clouds by our side.

By  Li Bai

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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