The Beauty Born in South
- Poetry of Li Bai (Li Po)

《美人出南国》

- Last updated: 2024-03-20 14:44:42

The Beauty Born in South by Li Bai (Li Po)
中文原文

美人出南国。灼灼芙蓉姿。

皓齿终不发。芳心空自持。

由来紫宫女。共妒青蛾眉。

归去潇湘沚。沉吟何足悲。


English Translation

The Beauty comes from South,

Blooming like lotus flower.

Her teeth brighten her mouth,

She's lofty like a tower.

Long since palace maids vied 

To outshine beaming eyes.

Come back to riverside,

Her songs turn to sad sighs.

By Li Bai (Li Po)

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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