On the Lake (Riverside Town)
- Poetry of Su Shi


- Last updated: 2024-03-23 17:13:35

On the Lake (Riverside Town) by Su Shi







English Translation

It turns fine after rain below the Phoenix Hill,

Waves and wind light,

Rainbow clouds bright.

A lotus flower past full bloom beams with smile still.

Where comes in flight 

A pair of egrets white 

As if inclined to care 

For maidens fair.

Suddenly on the stream music comes to the ear.

Who would not hear 

Such feeling drear?

Away clouds and mist clear;

The Spirit of River Xiang seems to appear.

When music ends,I would inquire for the lutist dear.

She seems to disappear,

Only leaving peaks clear.

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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