Happy Return to the Court-In Reply to Su Jian
- Poetry of Su Shi


- Last updated: 2024-01-09 17:03:57

Happy Return to the Court-In Reply to Su Jian by Su Shi









English Translation

I dream my leaflike boat on the vast lake afloat,

Snowlike waves surge up for miles and whiten the air.

I wake to find Mount Lu resplendent to my eye,

Blue cliffs upon blue cliffs open against the sky.

I've suffered setbacks all my life long;

You and I sing alike the roamer's song.

Dreaming of boating on the lake,

I like the thrilling scene when awake,

And feel as happy as the shuttle flies.

You will set sail in western breeze tomorrow;

I'll croon in tears for you a new verse full of sorrow.

When Poet Qu is gone,the Southern Mountain's bare.

Sweet orchids and clovers will lose their hue 

Like the poet of Willow Branch Song,you 

Will go farther southwest.

But you may compose as a guest.

And then who says

The modern age cannot surpass the bygone days?

The poet writes this lyric for an old friend whom he has not seen for years.Qu Yuan (340-278 BC)is the author of the long poem Sorrow after Departure.

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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