Returning to Live in the South Ⅲ
- Poetry of Tao Yuanming


- Last updated: 2024-06-11 22:17:20

Returning to Live in the South Ⅲ by Tao Yuanming





English Translation

I sow my beans below the southern hills,

Though grasses flourish, the sprouting beans are scarce.

I rise at dawn to clear the wasteland up,

Beneath the moon I carry back my hoe.

The path is narrow, the trees and grass grown tall,

My clothes are dampened by the evening dew.

Yet dampened clothes are nothing to begrudge,

If only my desires can be fulfilled.

By Tao Yuanming

· PreDrinking Wine
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.

© 2024 Chinese Poems in English