Visiting Temples on the Dragon Boat Festival
- Poetry of Su Shi


- Last updated: 2024-03-23 14:26:19

Visiting Temples on the Dragon Boat Festival by Su Shi











English Translation

I go sight-seeing in my sedan-chair 

And stop where there's a scenic spot to see.

Burning incense attracts me to go where 

I may have vegetable feast and tea.

The gentle rain stops and then starts again,

The little window looks gloomy and clean.

Shut out from sunlight by the hills,the plain 

Is overspread with grass and trees so green.

When I ascend the peak'd pagoda,all 

The boundless land extends before my eyes.

The Northern Peak o'erlooks the city wall;

On the Lake Zhenze float the cloudy skies.

A quiet place affords me keen delight;

In space immense I feel under no yoke.

Still looking for some more secluded sight,

I see from villages rise evening smoke.

Come back,I write down my impression deep,

Musing o'er it,I pass a sleepless night.

Nor do the devoted monks take their sleep,

They sit in meditation by lamplight.

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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