Tempest at the Scenic Hall
- Poetry of Su Shi


- Last updated: 2024-03-23 17:14:58

Tempest at the Scenic Hall by Su Shi





English Translation

Sight-seers hear from below a sudden thunder roars;

A skyful of storm-clouds cannot be dissipated.

The dark wind from on high raises a sea agitated;

Thcflying rain fom the east crosses river shores.

Like wine o'erflowing golden cup full to the brim

And thousands of sticks beating the drum of sheepskin.

Heaven pours water on the poet's face and chin

That he might write with dragon's scales and pearls a hymn.

1. Built on Mount Wu or the recumbent green hill in 1057, it was the subject of poems by many writers.

2. An allusion to an occasion when Emperor Xuan-zong of the Tang dynasty had the poet Li Bai sprinkled with cold water to sober him up.

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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