Dwelling By a Stream
- Poetry of Liu Zongyuan

《溪居》

- Last updated: 2024-04-21 10:22:52

Dwelling By a Stream by Liu Zongyuan
中文原文

久为簪组束,幸此南夷谪。

闲依农圃邻,偶似山林客。

晓耕翻露草,夜榜响溪石。

来往不逢人,长歌楚天碧。


English Translation

I had so long been troubled by official hat and robe

That I am glad to be an exile here in this wild southland.

I am a neighbour now of planters and reapers.

I am a guest of the mountains and woods.

I plough in the morning, turning dewy grasses,

And at evening tie my fisher-boat, breaking the quiet stream.

Back and forth I go, scarcely meeting anyone,

And sing a long poem and gaze at the blue sky.

Five-character-ancient-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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