Mounting the Height and Viewing the Sea
- Poetry of Li Bai (Li Po)


- Last updated: 2024-03-24 16:40:58

Mounting the Height and Viewing the Sea by Li Bai (Li Po)









English Translation

Mounting the height,

I gaze afar.

Six Giant Turtles'bones emerge on sea,frost-white,

I do not see where the Three Fairy Mountains are.

The Tree Divine half broken,

The sun's great splendors wane.

Celestial palace is a dream unwoken 

Emperors sought in vain.

The sea could not be filled with stones,

Nor could the gap by Turtles'bones.

Have we not seen imperial tombs in ruins lie,

Which shepherds set on fire?

The bandits came to rob your jewels of value high.

What could you do,imperial lier?

Such is the end you warmongers obtained.

Could immortality be ever gained?

1. Mount Tiantai in present-day Zhejiang Province.

2. According to Chinese legend,elixir could be found in the Fairy Mountains borne by Giant Turtles on the sea,but six Turtles were killed and Fairy Mountains floated off we know not where.

· PreLife and Death
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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