To One Unnamed V
- Poetry of Li Shangyin


- Last updated: 2024-03-22 22:18:02

To One Unnamed V by Li Shangyin

重帷深下莫愁堂, 臥後清宵細細長。

神女生涯原是夢, 小姑居處本無郎。

風波不信菱枝弱, 月露誰教桂葉香。

直道相思了無益, 未妨惆悵是清狂。

English Translation

There are many curtains in your care-free house,

Where rapture lasts the whole night long.

...What are the lives of angels but dreams

If they take no lovers into their rooms?

...Storms are ravishing the nut-horns,

Moon- dew sweetening cinnamon-leaves

I know well enough naught can come of this union,

Yet how it serves to ease my heart!


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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