In the Lantern Festival Last Year
- Poetry of Ouyang Xiu


- Last updated: 2024-03-24 17:02:59

In the Lantern Festival Last Year by Ouyang Xiu





English Translation

In the Lantern Festival last year,

the colourful lights turned the night into day.

The moon rose above the willow trees,

we went to a tryst in the cold riverbank.

In the Lantern Festival this year,

the lights and moon are shiny as before.

Without you coming here,i just

wiped my tears which have wet my shirt.

Ouyang Xiu (1007-1072)was the vice-premier w ho made important contribution to the development of literature during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127),but who represented higher achievement in prose than in poetry.This poem depicts a young woman waiting in vain for her beloved on the night of the Spring Moon Festival or Lanter Festival,that is,the 15th day of the first month by the lunar calendar.

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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