Eight Beats of a Ganzhou Song
- Poetry of Liu Yong

《八声甘州·对潇潇暮雨洒江天》

- Last updated: 2024-03-22 20:52:51

Eight Beats of a Ganzhou Song by Liu Yong
中文原文

对潇潇暮雨洒江天,一番洗清秋。

渐霜风凄紧,关河冷落,残照当楼。

是处红衰翠减,苒苒物华休。

唯有长江水,无语东流。

不忍登高临远,望故乡渺邈,归思难收。

叹年来踪迹,何事苦淹留?

想佳人,妆楼颙望,误几回、天际识归舟。

争知我,倚栏杆处,正恁凝愁!


English Translation

Shower by shower

Besprinkles evening rain the sky 

Over the river,

Washing cool the autumn air both far and nigh.

Gradually frost falls and blows the wind so chill 

That few people pass by hill or rill,

In fading sunlight drowned is my bower.

Everywhere the red and the green wither away,

There's no more splendor of a sunny day.

Only the waves of River Long 

Silently eastward flow along.

I cannot bear

To climb high and look far,for to gaze where 

My native land is lost in mists so thick 

Would make my lonely heart homesick.

I sigh to see my rovings year by year.

Why should I linger hopelessly now there,now here?

From her bower my lady fair 

Must gaze with longing eye.

How oft has she mistaken homebound sails 

On the horizon for those sails of mine?

How could she know that l,

Leaning upon the rails,

With sorrow frozen on my face,for her I pine!

This is a famous nostalgic poem in which the natural scenery is tinged with the poet's personal sorrow.

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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