Blacktail Row
- Poetry of Liu Yuxi

《乌衣巷》

- Last updated: 2024-04-17 15:29:48

Blacktail Row by Liu Yuxi
中文原文

朱雀桥边野草花,乌衣巷口夕阳斜。

旧时王谢堂前燕,飞入寻常百姓家。


English Translation

Grass has run wild now by the Bridge of Red-Birds;

And swallows' wings, at sunset, in Blacktail Row

Where once they visited great homes,

Dip among doorways of the poor.

Seven-character-quatrain

Wuyi Lane(Blacktail Row) is located on the south side of Qinhuai River in Nanjing. During the Three Kingdoms period, it was the barracks of the army guarding the Stone City of Wu. The name Wuyi means black clothes. This was because the non-commissioned officers at that time always dress in black.

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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