Farewell to the Old Year
- Poetry of Su Shi


- Last updated: 2024-03-22 18:18:47

Farewell to the Old Year by Su Shi









English Translation

When an old friend is to go far away, Long, long will he linger before he parts.

Though gone away, he may come back some day.

Where can we find the old year once it departs?

May I ask whither the old year has passed?

At the end of the earth it leaves no track.

It is gone with the water flowing fast To the East Sea and will never come back.

Wine is warmed by our neighbors on the east And the pork of those on the west is fat.

I'd like to have one happy day at least So that the lean year may not be grieved at.

Do not sigh for the departing old year!

Soon we shall say goodbye to New Year's Day.

Do not look back but let them disappear.

Man will grow old and his powers decay.

By Su Shi

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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