On Returning at the Year's End to Zhongnan Mountain
- Poetry of Meng Haoran

《岁暮归南山 / 归故园作 / 归终南山》

- Last updated: 2024-03-16 15:37:37

On Returning at the Year's End to Zhongnan Mountain by Meng Haoran





English Translation

I petition no more at the north palace-gate.

...To this tumble-down hut on Zhongnan Mountain

I was banished for my blunders, by a wise ruler.

I have been sick so long I see none of my friends.

My white hairs hasten my decline,

Like pale beams ending the old year.

Therefore I lie awake and ponder

On the pine-shadowed moonlight in my empty window.


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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