Mount ZhongNan
- Poetry of Wang Wei

《终南山》

- Last updated: 2024-04-26 16:22:59

Mount ZhongNan by Wang Wei
中文原文

太乙近天都,连山接海隅。

白云回望合,青霭入看无。

分野中峰变,阴晴众壑殊。

欲投人处宿,隔水问樵夫。


English Translation

Its massive height near the City of Heaven

Joins a thousand mountains to the corner of the sea.

Clouds, when I look back, close behind me,

Mists, when I enter them, are gone.

A central peak divides the wilds

And weather into many valleys.

...Needing a place to spend the night,

I call to a wood-cutter over the river.

Five-character-regular-verse

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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