Tune: "Song of Ziye"
- Poetry of Li Yu

《子夜歌·人生愁恨何能免》

- Last updated: 2024-04-16 18:36:46

Tune: "Song of Ziye" by Li Yu
中文原文

人生愁恨何能免?销魂独我情何限!

故国梦重归,觉来双泪垂。


高楼谁与上?长记秋晴望。

往事已成空,还如一梦中。


English Translation

How many one be spared the sorrow and regret of human life?

Why am I alone so overwhelmed, what end to my grief?

To my former kingdom I return in dreams again,

And awaken to find my tears already brimming.


With whom did I climb the high towers then?

How often I remember how we gazed into the clear autumn.

These things past are already drained and dead,

As though they were moments from within a single dream.

By Li Yu

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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