To My Friend At the Capital Secretary Pei
- Poetry of Qian Qi


- Last updated: 2024-05-08 20:16:07

To My Friend At the Capital Secretary Pei by Qian Qi





English Translation

Finches flash yellow through the Imperial Grove

Of the Forbidden City, pale with spring dawn;

Flowers muffle a bell in the Palace of Bliss

And rain has deepened the Dragon Lake willows;

But spring is no help to a man bewildered,

Who would be like a cloud upholding the Light of Heaven,

Yet whose poems, ten years refused, are shaming

These white hairs held by the petalled pin.


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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