Thoughts in the Silent Night
- Poetry of Li Bai (Li Po)


- Last updated: 2024-02-23 19:03:39

Thoughts in the Silent Night by Li Bai (Li Po)
Simplified Chinese Version



Traditional Chinese Version

床前明月光, 疑是地上霜。

舉頭望明月, 低頭思故鄉。

Thoughts in the Silent Night

English Translation

So bright a gleam on the foot of my bed --

Could there have been a frost already?

Lifting myself to look, I found that it was moonlight.

Sinking back again, I thought suddenly of home.


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.

© 2024 Famous Chinese Poems in English