Beyond Seeing
- Poetry of Shen Quanqi


- Last updated: 2024-05-10 21:22:05

Beyond Seeing by Shen Quanqi





English Translation

A girl of the Lu clan who lives in Golden-Wood Hall,

Where swallows perch in pairs on beams of tortoiseshell,

Hears the washing-mallets' cold beat shake the leaves down.

...The Liaoyang expedition will be gone ten years,

And messages are lost in the White Wolf River.

...Here in the City of the Red Phoenix autumn nights are long,

Where one who is heart-sick to see beyond seeing,

Sees only moonlight on the yellow-silk wave of her loom.


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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