Sand of Silk-washing Stream
- Poetry of Su Shi


- Last updated: 2024-03-23 14:23:34

Sand of Silk-washing Stream by Su Shi




English Translation

I visited the Temple of Clear Fountain on the Stream of Orchid which flows westward.

In the brook below the hill there drowns the orchid bud;

The sandy path between pine-trees shows not a trace of mud.

Shower by shower falls the rain while cuckoos sing.

Who,says an old man can't return once more unto his spring?

Before Clear Fountain's temple the water still flows west.

Why can't the cock still crow at dawn though with a snow-white crest?

It was generally believed in China that a river would flow eastward to the sea as naturally as man should grow old.After his convalscence in 1082,the poet visited the west-flowing Stream of orchid and was confirmed in his conviction that an old man should be optimistic just as an old cock with a white crest should still crow at dawn.

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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