Returning at Night to Lumen Mountain
- Poetry of Meng Haoran

《夜归鹿门山歌》

- Last updated: 2024-03-16 15:41:20

Returning at Night to Lumen Mountain by Meng Haoran
中文原文

山寺钟鸣昼已昏,渔梁渡头争渡喧。

人随沙岸向江村,余亦乘舟归鹿门。

鹿门月照开烟树,忽到庞公栖隐处。

岩扉松径长寂寥,惟有幽人自来去。


English Translation

A bell in the mountain-temple sounds the coming of night.

I hear people at the fishing-town stumble aboard the ferry,

While others follow the sand-bank to their homes along the river.

...I also take a boat and am bound for Lumen Mountain --

And soon the Lumen moonlight is piercing misty trees.

I have come, before I know it, upon an ancient hermitage,

The thatch door, the piney path, the solitude, the quiet,

Where a hermit lives and moves, never needing a companion.

Seven-character-ancient-verse

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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