The Four-view Pavilion
- Poetry of Su Shi


- Last updated: 2024-03-23 14:25:18

The Four-view Pavilion by Su Shi











English Translation


Duckweeds meet after the showers,

Frogs are croaking far and near.

Like dreams fade crab-Apple flowers,

Yet we may taste fresh plums here.

I carry vegetables,cane in hand,

And see no maiden on the swing.

But pleasing peonies there stand,

Alone they crown departing spring.


The high pavilion lies ruined for long,

But below there still remains a fish pond.

In the dusk a thousand hills are drowned;

The spring breeze is sweet with herbs in throng 

The market place appears forlorn;

The old temple with bamboo is green.

Stork and crane come to enliven the scene,

The setting sun is o'erflowed with their horn.

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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