At Parting
- Poetry of Wang Wei

《送别》

- Last updated: 2024-03-18 15:58:35

At Parting by Wang Wei
中文原文
Simplified Chinese Version

下马饮君酒,问君何所之?

君言不得意,归卧南山垂。

但去莫复问,白云无尽时。

Traditional Chinese Version

下馬飲君酒, 問君何所之?

君言不得意, 歸臥南山陲。

但去莫復聞, 白雲無盡時。


English Translation

I dismount from my horse and I offer you wine,

And I ask you where you are going and why.

And you answer: "I am discontent

And would rest at the foot of the southern mountain.

So give me leave and ask me no questions.

White clouds pass there without end."

Five-character-quatrain

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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