On Hearing a Flute at Night From the Wall of Shouxiang
- Poetry of Li Yi

《夜上受降城闻笛》

- Last updated: 2024-05-15 10:12:41

On Hearing a Flute at Night From the Wall of Shouxiang by Li Yi
中文原文

回乐峰前沙似雪,受降城外月如霜。

不知何处吹芦管,一夜征人尽望乡。


English Translation

The sand below the border-mountain lies like snow,

And the moon like frost beyond the city-wall,

And someone somewhere, playing a flute,

Has made the soldiers homesick all night long.

Seven-character-quatrain

· PreA Palace Poem
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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