Note On a Rainy Night to a Friend in the North
- Poetry of Li Shangyin

《夜雨寄北》

- Last updated: 2024-05-15 10:47:29

Note On a Rainy Night to a Friend in the North by Li Shangyin
中文原文

君问归期未有期,巴山夜雨涨秋池。

何当共剪西窗烛,却话巴山夜雨时。


English Translation

You ask me when I am coming. I do not know.

I dream of your mountains and autumn pools brimming all night with the rain.

Oh, when shall we be trimming wicks again, together in your western window?

When shall I be hearing your voice again, all night 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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