Returning to Songshan Mountain
- Poetry of Wang Wei


- Last updated: 2024-04-26 16:20:54

Returning to Songshan Mountain by Wang Wei
Simplified Chinese Version





Traditional Chinese Version

清川帶長薄, 車馬去閑閑。

流水如有意, 暮禽相與還。

荒城臨古渡, 落日滿秋山。

迢遞嵩高下, 歸來且閉關。

English Translation

The limpid river, past its bushes

Running slowly as my chariot,

Becomes a fellow voyager

Returning home with the evening birds.

A ruined city-wall overtops an old ferry,

Autumn sunset floods the peaks.

...Far away, beside Mount Song,

I shall close my door and be at peace.


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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