On His South Mountain Villa
- Poetry of Wang Wei

《终南别业》

- Last updated: 2024-04-26 16:44:20

On His South Mountain Villa by Wang Wei
中文原文

中岁颇好道,晚家南山陲。

兴来每独往,胜事空自知。

行到水穷处,坐看云起时。

偶然值林叟,谈笑无还期。


English Translation

This mind after youth for the holy has grown.

Still later, up here, there’s my house so fine.

Whene’er there’s the mood I will wander alone

With pleasures sublime — be sure, all are mind!

Perchance I come near where a rill’d disappear,

Then I’ll sit and watch clouds rise in that clime.

An old wight may be here, and then, full of cheer,

We’ll chat and laugh with no thought of time.

By Wang Wei

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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