Pity the Peasants/Ancient Air, 1 of 2
- Poetry of Li Shen

《古风 / 悯农二首 其一》

- Last updated: 2024-04-16 18:56:09

Pity the Peasants/Ancient Air, 1 of 2 by Li Shen
中文原文

春种一粒粟,秋收万颗子。

四海无闲田,农夫犹饿死。


English Translation

Each grain of millet sown in spring

Will by autumn harvest a myriad bring.

Across the land no fields lie vacant,

Peasants still found----starving, dying.

1- Each grain of millet sown in spring

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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