An Impromptu Verse Written in Exile
- Poetry of Su Shi


- Last updated: 2024-01-10 17:04:26

An Impromptu Verse Written in Exile by Su Shi



English Translation

Dishevelled white hair flows in the wind like frost spread,

In my small study I lie ill in a wicker bed.

Knowing that I am sleeping a sweet sleep in spring,

The Taoist priest takes care morning bells softly ring.

The poet was exiled farther south for the 3rd line.

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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