Courtyard Full of fragrance
- Poetry of Su Shi


- Last updated: 2023-12-31 16:55:40

Courtyard Full of fragrance by Su Shi










English Translation

After thirty-three years.

Who still remains today?

Only you and the long,long river stay.

Upright like the cypress evergreen,

Frost-proof,you have no compeers.

In your old county I have seen 

Your cot surrounded by bamboos

Standing by cloudy stream framed with pine tree on tree.

If you leave the southern shore not to say adieus,

How could you come to see me?

After a sudden shower the trees 

Dance in the breeze,

A veil of mist rises with cloud screen.

I hold high the wine cup 

And invite you to drink it up.

Now old,I think it's like a dream sweet 

To drink face to face with you.

We hear no more songs of adieu,

For early risers,drums begin to beat.

The poet writes this farewell poem for his friend Chen Jichang.

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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