From the City-tower of Liuzhou to My Four Fellow-officials at Zhang,Ding, Feng, and Lian Districts
- Poetry of Liu Zongyuan

《登柳州城楼寄漳汀封连四州》

- Last updated: 2024-05-09 11:28:58

From the City-tower of Liuzhou to My Four Fellow-officials at Zhang,Ding, Feng, and Lian Districts by Liu Zongyuan
中文原文

城上高楼接大荒,海天愁思正茫茫。

惊风乱飐芙蓉水,密雨斜侵薜荔墙。

岭树重遮千里目,江流曲似九回肠。

共来百越文身地,犹自音书滞一乡。


English Translation

At this lofty tower where the town ends, wilderness begins;

And our longing has as far to go as the ocean or the sky....

Hibiscus-flowers by the moat heave in a sudden wind,

And vines along the wall are whipped with slanting rain.

Nothing to see for three hundred miles but a blur of woods and mountain --

And the river's nine loops, twisting in our bowels....

This is where they have sent us, this land of tattooed people --

And not even letters, to keep us in touch with home.

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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