<Riverside Town> Dreaming of My Deceased Wife on the Night of the 20th Day of the Ist Month
- Poetry of Su Shi


- Last updated: 2024-03-23 17:06:17

<Riverside Town> Dreaming of My Deceased Wife on the Night of the 20th Day of the Ist Month by Su Shi







English Translation

For ten long years the living of the dead knows nought.

Should the dead be forgot

And to mind never brought?

Her lonely grave is a thousand miles away.

To whom can I my grief convey?

Revived e'en if she be,could she still know me?

My face is worn with care

And frosted is my hair.

Last night I dreamed of coming to my native place:

She's making up her face

At the window with grace.

We gazed at each other hushed,

But tears from our eyes gushed.

When I am woken,I fancy her heart-broken 

On the mound clad with pines,

Where only the moon shines.

Written at Mizhou.The poet dreamed of his first wife,Wang Fu,whom he married in 1054,when she was fifteen.She died in 1065,and the following year.when the poet's father died,he carried her remains back to his old home in Sichuan and buried them in the family plot,planting a number of little pines around the grave mound.

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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