Staying up All Night on New Year's Eve
- Poetry of Su Shi


- Last updated: 2024-03-22 18:20:03

Staying up All Night on New Year's Eve by Su Shi









English Translation

The end of the year is drawing nearAs a snake crawls back to its hole.

We see half its body disappear And soon we' ll lose sight of the whole.

If we try to tie down its tail, We can't succeed whate' er we do. Children will stay up and regale Themselves with feast the whole night through.

Cocks, wake not the dawn with your song; Drums, do not boom out the hour now!

The wick is burned as I sit long, I rise to see the slanting Plough.

Will there be no New Year's Eve next year?

I am afraid time waits for none.

Let us enjoy tonight with cheer So that childhood will longer run.


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.

© 2024 Famous Chinese Poems in English