A Farewell to Wei Wan
- Poetry of Li Qi


- Last updated: 2024-05-07 17:52:44

A Farewell to Wei Wan by Li Qi





English Translation

The travellers' parting-song sounds in the dawn.

Last night a first frost came over the river;

And the crying of the wildgeese grieves my sad heart

Bounded by a gloom of cloudy mountains....

Here in the Gate City, day will flush cold

And washing-flails quicken by the gardens at twilight --

How long shall the capital content you,

Where the months and the years so vainly go by?


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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