A Green Stream
- Poetry of Wang Wei

《青溪》

- Last updated: 2024-04-19 00:04:05

A Green Stream by Wang Wei
中文原文

言入黄花川,每逐青溪水。

随山将万转,趣途无百里。

声喧乱石中,色静深松里。

漾漾泛菱荇,澄澄映葭苇。

我心素已闲,清川澹如此。

请留盘石上,垂钓将已矣。


English Translation

I have sailed the River of Yellow Flowers,

Borne by the channel of a green stream,

Rounding ten thousand turns through the mountains

On a journey of less than thirty miles....

Rapids hum over heaped rocks;

But where light grows dim in the thick pines,

The surface of an inlet sways with nut-horns

And weeds are lush along the banks.

...Down in my heart I have always been as pure

As this limpid water is....

Oh, to remain on a broad flat rock

And to cast a fishing-line forever!

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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