On Hearing a Lute-player
- Poetry of Liu Changqing

《弹琴》

- Last updated: 2024-05-11 11:33:00

On Hearing a Lute-player by Liu Changqing
中文原文

泠泠七弦上,静听松风寒。

古调虽自爱,今人多不弹。


English Translation

Your seven strings are like the voice

Of a cold wind in the pines,

Singing old beloved songs

Which no one cares for any more.

Five-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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