Song of the Lute
- Poetry of Su Shi

《琴诗》

- Last updated: 2023-12-25 10:22:49

Song of the Lute by Su Shi
中文原文

若言琴上有琴声,放在匣中何不鸣?

若言声在指头上,何不于君指上听?


English Translation

If you say music from the lute does rise,

Why in its case will not vibrate its string?

If you say the sound in the fingers lies,

Why have we never heard the fingers sing?

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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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