A Nanjing Landscape
- Poetry of Wei Zhuang

《金陵图》

- Last updated: 2024-05-15 11:08:57

A Nanjing Landscape by Wei Zhuang
中文原文

谁谓伤心画不成?画人心逐世人情。

君看六幅南朝事,老木寒云满故城。


English Translation

Though a shower bends the river-grass, a bird is singing,

While ghosts of the Six Dynasties pass like a dream

Around the Forbidden City, under weeping willows

Which loom still for three miles along the misty moat.

Seven-character-quatrain

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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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