Written to Examiners in Joke
- Poetry of Su Shi

《催试官考较戏作》

- Last updated: 2024-03-23 17:20:03

Written to Examiners in Joke by Su Shi
中文原文

八月十五夜,

月色随处好。

不择茅檐与市楼,

况我官居似蓬岛。

凤味堂前野橘香,

剑潭桥畔秋荷老。

八月十八潮,

壮观天下无。

鲲鹏水击三千里,

组练长驱十万夫。

红旗青盖互明灭,

黑沙白浪相吞屠。

人生会合古难必,

此景此行那两得!

愿君闻此添蜡烛,

门外白袍如立鹊。


English Translation

On the mid-autumn night Everywhere the moon is bright, 

Over the thatched roof, over the city hall, 

Over my mansion which looks like a fairy-land, 

O' er the Sword Pool where lotus blooms grow old in the fall, 

O' er the Phoenix Beak where wild oranges fragrant stand.

On the eighteenth of the eighth moon, 

Incomparable high tide at noon: 

Like water spouted three thousand miles high by whales Or the march of ten myriads of armored men.

Red flags and blue canopies furl and unfurl like sails; 

Black sand and white waves swallow each other now and then.

"Tis hard for men to get together as of old, 

Candidates would regret not to see such a scene.

I hope you will burn more candles as you are told, 

For outdoors candidates craning their necks can be seen.

1072

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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