On Passing Jia Yi's House in Changsha
- Poetry of Liu Changqing


- Last updated: 2024-04-25 12:07:09

On Passing Jia Yi's House in Changsha by Liu Changqing





English Translation

Here, where you spent your three years' exile,

To be mourned in Chu ten thousand years,

Can I trace your footprint in the autumn grass --

Or only slanting sunlight through the bleak woods?

If even good Emperor Wen was cold-hearted,

Could you hope that the dull river Xiang would understand you,

These desolate waters, these taciturn mountains,

When you came, like me, so far away?


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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