Spring Rain
- Poetry of Li Shangyin


- Last updated: 2024-05-10 21:07:14

Spring Rain by Li Shangyin

悵臥新春白袷衣, 白門寥落意多違。

紅樓隔雨相望冷, 珠箔飄燈獨自歸。

遠路應悲春晼晚, 殘宵猶得夢依稀。

玉璫緘札何由達, 萬里雲羅一雁飛。

English Translation

I am lying in a white-lined coat while the spring approaches,

But am thinking only of the White Gate City where I cannot be.

...There are two red chambers fronting the cold, hidden by the rain,

And a lantern on a pearl screen swaying my lone heart homeward.

...The long road ahead will be full of new hardship,

With, late in the nights, brief intervals of dream.

Oh, to send you this message, this pair of jade earrings! --

I watch a lonely wildgoose in three thousand miles of cloud.


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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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