Setting Sail on the Yangzi to Secretary Yuan
- Poetry of Wei Yingwu

《初发扬子寄元大校书》

- Last updated: 2024-04-20 20:31:45

Setting Sail on the Yangzi to Secretary Yuan by Wei Yingwu
中文原文

凄凄去亲爱,泛泛入烟雾。

归棹洛阳人,残钟广陵树。

今朝此为别,何处还相遇?

世事波上舟,沿洄安得住!


English Translation

Wistful, away from my friends and kin,

Through mist and fog I float and float

With the sail that bears me toward Loyang.

In Yangzhou trees linger bell-notes of evening,

Marking the day and the place of our parting....

When shall we meet again and where?

...Destiny is a boat on the waves,

Borne to and fro, beyond our will.

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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