On Meeting My Friend Feng Zhu in the Capital
- Poetry of Wei Yingwu

《长安遇冯著》

- Last updated: 2024-03-31 11:41:46

On Meeting My Friend Feng Zhu in the Capital by Wei Yingwu
中文原文

客从东方来,衣上灞陵雨。

问客何为来,采山因买斧。

冥冥花正开,飏飏燕新乳。

昨别今已春,鬓丝生几缕。


English Translation

Out of the east you visit me,

With the rain of Baling still on your clothes,

I ask you what you have come here for;

You say: "To buy an ax for cutting wood in the mountains"

...Hidden deep in a haze of blossom,

Swallow fledglings chirp at ease

As they did when we parted, a year ago....

How grey our temples have grown since them!

Five-character-ancient-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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