Taking Leave of Wang Wei
- Poetry of Meng Haoran

《留别王侍御维 / 留别王维》

- Last updated: 2024-04-27 16:32:20

Taking Leave of Wang Wei by Meng Haoran
Simplified Chinese Version





Traditional Chinese Version

寂寂竟何待, 朝朝空自歸。

欲尋芳草去, 惜與故人違。

當路誰相假, 知音世所稀。

祗應守寂寞, 還掩故園扉。

English Translation

Slow and reluctant, I have waited

Day after day, till now I must go.

How sweet the road-side flowers might be

If they did not mean good-bye, old friend.

The Lords of the Realm are harsh to us

And men of affairs are not our kind.

I will turn back home, I will say no more,

I will close the gate of my old garden.


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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