North Among Green Vines
- Poetry of Li Shangyin

《北青萝》

- Last updated: 2024-05-05 18:10:39

North Among Green Vines by Li Shangyin
中文原文

残阳西入崦,茅屋访孤僧。

落叶人何在,寒云路几层。

独敲初夜磬,闲倚一枝藤。

世界微尘里,吾宁5爱与憎。


English Translation

Where the sun has entered the western hills,

I look for a monk in his little straw hut;

But only the fallen leaves are at home,

And I turn through chilling levels of cloud

I hear a stone gong in the dusk,

I lean full-weight on my slender staff

How within this world, within this grain of dust,

Can there be any room for the passions of men?

Five-character-regular-verse

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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