Riverside Daffodils
- Poetry of Su Shi


- Last updated: 2024-04-02 14:46:13

Riverside Daffodils by Su Shi







English Translation

Drinking at Eastern Slope by night,

I sober, then get drunk again.

When I come back, it's near midnight,

I bear the thunder of my houseboy's snore;

I knock but no one answers the door.

What can I do but, leaning on my cane,

Listen to the river's refrain?

I long regret I am not master of my own.

When can I ignore the hums of up and down?

In the still night the soft winds quiver

On ripples of the river.

From now on I would vanish with my little boat;

For the rest of my life on the sea I would float.

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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