Sacrifice to the Cat that Scared all the Rats
- Poetry of Mei Yaochen

《祭猫》

- Last updated: 2024-03-20 23:32:56

Sacrifice to the Cat that Scared all the Rats by Mei Yaochen
中文原文

自有五白猫,鼠不侵我书。

今朝五白死,祭与饭与鱼。

送之于中河,咒尔非尔疎。

昔尔啮一鼠,衔鸣绕庭除。

欲使众鼠惊,意将清我庐。

一从登舟来,舟中同屋居。

糗粮虽甚薄,免食漏窃余。

此实尔有勤,有勤胜鸡猪。

世人重驱驾,谓不如马馿。

已矣莫复论,为尔聊欷歔。


English Translation

When I had my Five White cat,

The rats did not invade my books.

This morning Five White died,

I sacrifice with rice and fish.

I see you off in the middle of the river,

I chant for you: I won't neglect you.

Once when you'd bitten a rat,

You took it crying round the yard.

You wanted to scare all the rats,

So as to make my cottage clean.

Since we came on board this boat,

On the boat we've shared a room.

Although the grain is dry and scarce,

I eat not fearing piss or theft.

That's because of your hard work,

Harder working than chickens or pigs.

People stress their mighty steeds,

Saying nothing's like a horse or ass.

Enough- I'm not going to argue,

But cry for you a little.

Mei Yaochen

· PreMourning Loss
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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