The Fisherman
- Poetry of Su Shi


- Last updated: 2024-01-05 12:35:33

The Fisherman by Su Shi













English Translation

The fisherman will drink.

And you know where he goes.

All at once of his fish and crabs he will dispose.

Then he will drink his fill and will not stop 

Till drunk:he need not pay nor be paid by the wineshop.

The fisherman is drunk,

His straw cloak seems to dance.

He looks for his way back as if in a trance.

His light boat drifts with its short oars slanting sideway,

Woke up,he knows not where he is carried away.

The fisherman wakes up

At noon on the spring stream.

Falling flowers and catkins fly into his dream.

Woke up,he is still dreaming;drunk,he wakes at last,

Laughing at the human world both present and past.

The fisherman laughs 

And light gulls will plane

On the silent river o'erspread with wind and rain.

-A busy horseman on the bank opens his mouth,

Asking me for my small boat to ferry him south.


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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