On Leaving Guijiang Again to Xue and Liu
- Poetry of Liu Changqing

《江州重别薛六柳八二员外》

- Last updated: 2024-05-08 20:08:01

On Leaving Guijiang Again to Xue and Liu by Liu Changqing
中文原文

生涯岂料承优诏,世事空知学醉歌。

江上月明胡雁过,淮南木落楚山多。

寄身且喜沧洲近,顾影无如白发何。

今日龙钟人共老,愧君犹遣慎风波。


English Translation

Dare I, at my age, accept my summons,

Knowing of the world's ways only wine and song?....

Over the moon-edged river come wildgeese from the Tartars;

And the thinner the leaves along the Huai, the wider the southern mountains....

I ought to be glad to take my old bones back to the capital,

But what am I good for in that world, with my few white hairs?....

As bent and decrepit as you are, I am ashamed to thank you,

When you caution me that I may encounter thunderbolts.

Seven-character-regular-verse

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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