To One Unnamed II
- Poetry of Li Shangyin


- Last updated: 2024-04-06 19:46:40

To One Unnamed II by Li Shangyin





English Translation

A misty rain comes blowing with a wind from the east,

And wheels faintly thunder beyond Hibiscus Pool.

...Round the golden-toad lock, incense is creeping;

The jade tiger tells, on its cord, of water being drawn

A great lady once, from behind a screen, favoured a poor youth;

A fairy queen brought a bridal mat once for the ease of a prince and then vanished.

...Must human hearts blossom in spring, like all other flowers?

And of even this bright flame of love, shall there be only ashes?


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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