To Liu Jingwen
- Poetry of Su Shi

《赠刘景文 / 冬景》

- Last updated: 2024-04-07 10:00:19

To Liu Jingwen by Su Shi
中文原文

荷尽已无擎雨盖,菊残犹有傲霜枝。

一年好景君须记,正是橙黄橘绿时。


English Translation

Lotuses put up no umbrellas to the rain;

Yet frost-proof branches of chrysanthemum remain.

Do not forget of a year the loveliest scene:

When oranges are yellow and tangerines are green.

Written at Hangzhou,where the poet had been appointed governor the year before.

Liu Jingwen (1033-1092) was an elderly official whom the poet came to know in Hangzhou.

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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