Song of Divination-Written at Dinghui Abbey in Huangzhou
- Poetry of Su Shi


- Last updated: 2023-12-25 10:19:21

Song of Divination-Written at Dinghui Abbey in Huangzhou by Su Shi





English Translation

From a sparse plane tree hangs the waning moon,

The waterclock is still and hushed is man.

Who sees a hermit pacing up and down alone?

Is it the shadow of a fugifive swan?

Startled,he turns his head 

With a grief none behold.

Looking all over,he won't perch on branches dead 

But on the lonely sandbank cold.


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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