Harmonizing a Poem By Palace-attendant Guo
- Poetry of Wang Wei


- Last updated: 2024-03-18 16:03:53

Harmonizing a Poem By Palace-attendant Guo by Wang Wei





English Translation

High beyond the thick wall a tower shines with sunset

Where peach and plum are blooming and the willowcotton flies.

You have heard in your office the court-bell of twilight;

Birds find perches, officials head for home.

Your morning-jade will tinkle as you thread the golden palace;

You will bring the word of Heaven from the closing gates at night.

And I should serve there with you; but being full of years,

I have taken off official robes and am resting from my troubles.


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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