Ballad of the Swarming Mosquitoes
- Poetry of Liu Yuxi


- Last updated: 2024-04-13 16:15:59

Ballad of the Swarming Mosquitoes by Liu Yuxi








English Translation

Hot summer nights

And doors are opened:

Mosquitoes swarm in

In the darkness,

Buzzing, loud.

Buzz, buzz, buzz,

Driving everyone wild,


Like thunder

Hammering on the South Hills.

Buzz, buzz, buzz,

Happy in the darkness.

Stupidity can’t understand,

Wisdom grows confused:

Who can see in the dark?

The moon rises,

Dew falls,

And these imperious gnats,

Invisible, sharp-toothed,

Fly right in your face.

I may be a man,

Seven feet tall,

And you only

Tiny bugs,

But you outnumber me,

And I am sadly wounded.

Yet all things have their time.

Who can fight you

As you’re swarming up?

All I can do is hide

Under my netting.

But autumn will come,

And the fireflies,

And they’ll gobble you up,

Every tiny bit,

Every minute piece.

By Liu Yuxi

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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