Reflections III
- Poetry of Ruan Ji


- Last updated: 2024-06-19 10:53:15

Reflections III by Ruan Ji







English Translation

The eastern garden’s trodden way

Leads to blooming peach and plum trees.

But withered leaves are blown away

And drifting in the autumn breeze.

Bright flowers languish soon and fade;

With thorns the hall will be overgrown.

Leave the hall on horse and evade

To Hermits’ hill and settle down!

Hard to keep you from being lost,

Let alone your children and wife.

Wild grass will be covered with frost;

Soon will end the year and our life.

The poetry of Ruan Ji has the same mood, what differs is his soul and his world view. In it we can find biting and angry criticism of Confucian dogmatists and rulers, a glorification of the gladness of "carefree wandering", and the anger and sorrow resulting from the conflict between Junzi (君子) and "times of chaos".

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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