A Warm Red in the Sunlight
- Poetry of Su Shi


- Last updated: 2024-04-11 16:09:40

A Warm Red in the Sunlight by Su Shi



English Translation

Made on my way to offer thanks for rain at the Rocky Pool outside Suzhou. 

This pool lies twenty li east of the city, 

rising or falling with the Su River and turning clear or muddy like the river.

A warm red in the sunlit the pool where fish can be seen,

And green the shade of the village where crows hide themselves at dusk;

Here gather small boys and graybeards with twinkling eyes;

The deer are startled at the sight of men,

But monkeys come unbidden at the sound of drums.

This I tell the girls picking mulberries on my way home.

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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