Beyond the Border
- Poetry of Wang Zhihuan

《出塞 / 凉州词二首·其一》

- Last updated: 2024-04-17 15:37:57

Beyond the Border by Wang Zhihuan
中文原文

黄河远上白云间,一片孤城万仞山。

羌笛何须怨杨柳,春风不度玉门关。


English Translation

Where a yellow river climbs to the white clouds,

Near the one city-wall among ten-thousand-foot mountains,

A Tartar under the willows is lamenting on his flute

That spring never blows to him through the Jade Pass

Folk-song-styled-verse

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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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