A Light Boat With Short Oars (Picking Mulberries)
- Poetry of Ouyang Xiu

《采桑子·轻舟短棹西湖好》

- Last updated: 2024-03-24 17:07:42

A Light Boat With Short Oars (Picking Mulberries) by Ouyang Xiu
中文原文

轻舟短棹西湖好,绿水逶迤,芳草长堤,隐隐笙歌处处随,

无风水面琉璃滑,不觉船移,微动涟漪,惊起沙禽掠岸飞。


English Translation

A light boat with short oars- West Lake is good.

A gentle curve in the green water,

Fragrant grass along the dyke,

The faint sound of pipes and song follows me everywhere.

Without a wind, the water's surface lies as smooth as glaze.

I don't notice boats passing,

Tiny movements start up ripples,

Startled birds rise from the sand and graze the bank in flight.

By Ouyang Xiu

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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