The Moon on the West River
- Poetry of Su Shi


- Last updated: 2024-03-23 14:25:00

The Moon on the West River by Su Shi





English Translation

Like dreams pass world affairs untold,How many autumns in our life are cold?

My corridor is loud with wind-blown leaves at night.

See my brows frown and hair turn white!

Of my poor wine few guests are proud;

The bright moon is oft veiled in cloud.

Who would enjoy with me the mid-autumn moon lonely?

Wine cup in hand,northward I look only.

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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