<Spring in a pleasure garden> Written to Ziyou on My Way to Mizhou
- Poetry of Su Shi


- Last updated: 2024-03-23 17:07:58

<Spring in a pleasure garden> Written to Ziyou on My Way to Mizhou by Su Shi










English Translation

The lamp burns with green flames in an inn's lonely hall,

The wayfarer's dream is broken by the cock's call.

Slowly the blooming moon rolls up her silk dress white,

The frost begins to shimmer in the soft daylight;

The cloud-crowned hills outspread their brocade 

And morning dews gliter like pearls displayed.

As the way of the world is long,

But our toilsome life short,

So, for a man like me,joyless is oft my sort.

After humming this song,

Silent, on my saddle Ilean,

Brooding over the past scene after scene.

Together then to the capital we came,

Like the two Brothers Lu of literary fame.

A fluent pen combined

With a widely-read mind,

Why could we not have helped the Crown 

To attain great renown?

As times require,

I advance or retire,

With folded arms I may stand by.

If we keep fit,

We may enjoy life before we lose it.

So drink the wine-cup dry!

Mizhou was a poor district where officials under a cloud were sent.

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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