At eight years old
- Poetry of Li Shangyin

《八岁偷照镜》

- Last updated: 2024-03-22 22:09:28

At eight years old by Li Shangyin
中文原文

八岁偷照镜,长眉已能画。

十岁去踏青,芙蓉作裙衩。

十二学弹筝,银甲不曾卸。

十四藏六亲,悬知犹未嫁。

十五泣春风,背面秋千下。


English Translation

At eight years old,i looked into the mirror

and painted my eyebrows.

At ten years old,i went for the spring out,

and wore the lotus as my dress.

At twelve years old,i played the cold lyre,

and cherished those cute silver rings.

At fourteen years old,i hid in the boudoir,

and wonder what the true love is.

At fifteen years old,i feared the elapse of spring.

and turned my back to the swing.

By Li Shangyin

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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