Entertaining Literary Men in My Official Residence on a Rainy Day
- Poetry of Wei Yingwu


- Last updated: 2024-03-31 11:19:21

Entertaining Literary Men in My Official Residence on a Rainy Day by Wei Yingwu











English Translation

Outside are insignia, shown in state;

But here are sweet incense-clouds, quietly ours.

Wind and rain, coming in from sea,

Have cooled this pavilion above the lake

And driven the feverish heat away

From where my eminent guests are gathered.

...Ashamed though I am of my high position

While people lead unhappy lives,

Let us reasonably banish care

And just be friends, enjoying nature.

Though we have to go without fish and meat,

There are fruits and vegetables aplenty.

...We bow, we take our cups of wine,

We give our attention to beautiful poems.

When the mind is exalted, the body is lightened

And feels as if it could float in the wind.

...Suzhou is famed as a centre of letters;

And all you writers, coming here,

Prove that the name of a great land

Is made by better things than wealth.


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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