<Drunk with Soul Lost> Farewell at the gate of Suzhou
- Poetry of Su Shi

《醉落魄·苏州阊门留别》

- Last updated: 2024-03-23 17:09:18

<Drunk with Soul Lost> Farewell at the gate of Suzhou by Su Shi
中文原文

苍颜华发,故山归计何时决!

旧交新贵音书绝,惟有佳人,犹作殷勤别。

离亭欲去歌声咽,潇潇细雨凉吹颊。

泪珠不用罗巾浥,弹在罗衫,图得见时说。


English Translation

A pale face with hair grey,

When can I go home without care?

No word's received from my friends old or new,

Only the songstress fair 

Comes to sing for me a song of adieu.


On leaving the pavilion, with sobs she sings;

The chilly breeze a drizzling rain to my cheeks brings.

Don't use your handkerchief to wipe your tears away!

Let them fall on your silken sleeves!

When we meet again, I know how it grieves.

The poet writes this lyric for a songstress who sheds tears when they part.

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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