Reproach in a Letter on Colored Paper
- Poetry of Shangguan Wan'er


- Last updated: 2024-06-19 11:11:36

Reproach in a Letter on Colored Paper by Shangguan Wan'er





English Translation

When first leaves fall on Lake Dongting,

I long for you, thousands of miles away.

In heavy dew my scented quilt feels cold,

At moonset, brocade screen deserted.

I would play a Southland melody

And crave to seal a letter to Jibei.

The letter has no other message but

This misery in living long apart.

Jibei, in the far northeastern corner of China, represents a region of frontier warfare, thus suggesting a woman writing to her husband away in the army.

· PreReflections III
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.

List of Chinese poets

© 2024 Chinese Poems in English