Sad Remembrance
- Poetry of Mei Yaochen

《怀悲》

- Last updated: 2024-03-20 23:32:33

Sad Remembrance by Mei Yaochen
中文原文

自尔归我家,未尝厌贫窭。

夜终每至子,朝饭辄过午。

十日九食齑,一日傥有脯。

东西十八年,相与同甘苦。

本期百岁恩,岂料一夕去。

尚念临终时,拊我不能语。

此身今虽存,竟当共为土。


English Translation

After you came back to my home,

You never complained that we were poor.

Up till midnight every night,

We had our breakfast after noon.

Nine or ten days eating pickles,

Then one day we’d have dried meat.

East and west for eighteen years,

Together we shared both bitter and sweet.

Expecting a hundred years of love,

How could I know you’d go one evening?

I still remember that last hour,

You held me, but you could not speak.

Although this body yet survives,

Finally we’ll be dust together.

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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