Song of the Tow-Men
- Poetry of Li Bai (Li Po)


- Last updated: 2024-03-24 16:49:03

Song of the Tow-Men by Li Bai (Li Po)







English Translation

They tow a boat and upstream wade 

Between two shores alive with trade.

Under the heat pants buffalo.

O think what pain it is to tow!

The water's muddy and can not 

Be drunk:thick silt fills half the pot.

When tow-men sing their song's refrain.

With broken heart,tears fall like rain.

Ten thousand quarry-men would groan 

To haul to riverside rough stone.

If rocky mountains could have ears,

Would they not melt into sad tears?

By Li Bai (Li Po)

· PrePavilion Laolao
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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