Writing of My Sorrow
- Poetry of Mei Yaochen

《书哀》

- Last updated: 2024-03-20 23:31:16

Writing of My Sorrow by Mei Yaochen
中文原文

天既丧我妻,又复丧我子!

两眼虽未枯,片心将欲死。

雨落入地中,珠沉入海底。

赴海可见珠,掘地可见水。

唯人归泉下,万古知已矣!

拊膺当问谁,憔悴鉴中鬼。


English Translation

Heaven's already taken my wife,

Now it's also taken my son.

My two eyes are still not dry,

My heart desires only death.

Rain falls and soaks into the earth,

A pearl sinks into the ocean's depths.

Dive in the sea and you can seek the pearl,

Dig in the earth and you can see the water.

Only people return to the source below.

For all of time. This we know.

I hold my chest; to whom now can I turn?

Emaciated, a ghost in the mirror. 

Mei Yaochen

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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