A Message to Secretary Linghu
- Poetry of Li Shangyin

《寄令狐郎中》

- Last updated: 2024-05-15 10:50:32

A Message to Secretary Linghu by Li Shangyin
中文原文

嵩云秦树久离居,双鲤迢迢一纸书。

休问梁园旧宾客,茂陵秋雨病相如。


English Translation

I am far from the clouds of Sung Mountain, a long way from trees in Qin;

And I send to you a message carried by two carp:

-- Absent this autumn from the Prince's garden,

There's a poet at Maoling sick in the rain.

Seven-character-quatrain

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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