The Jade Dressing-table
- Poetry of Quan Deyu

《玉台体-其十一》

- Last updated: 2024-05-11 12:29:52

The Jade Dressing-table by Quan Deyu
中文原文

昨夜裙带解,今朝蟢子飞。

铅华不可弃,莫是藁砧归。


English Translation

Last night my girdle came undone,

And this morning a luck-beetle flew over my bed.

So here are my paints and here are my powders --

And a welcome for my yoke again.

Five-character-quatrain

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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