North Among Green Vines
- Poetry of Li Shangyin


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

North Among Green Vines by Li Shangyin





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?


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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