Travelling is Hard
- Poetry of Li Bai (Li Po)


- Last updated: 2024-04-23 22:21:58

Travelling is Hard by Li Bai (Li Po)







English Translation

Clear wine in golden goblets, ten thousand cash a cup,

And costly delicacies on jade platters.

Yet I spurn drinking and toss away my chopsticks,

Sword in hand, restless, I wonder what to do.

I want to cross the Yellow River, but it's ice-bound;

I want to climb the Taihang Mountains, but they're snow-covered.

So idly I fish by a limpid stream,

Dreaming of sailing towards the sun.

Travelling is hard! Travelling is hard!

So many crossroads; which to choose?

One day I'll skim the waves, blown by the wind,

With sails hoisted high, across the vast ocean.

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.

© 2024 Famous Chinese Poems in English