To a Friend Bound East
- Poetry of Wen Tingyun


- Last updated: 2024-05-05 18:13:29

To a Friend Bound East by Wen Tingyun





English Translation

The old fort brims with yellow leaves....

You insist upon forsaking this place where you have lived.

A high wind blows at Hanyang Ferry

And sunrise lights the summit of Yingmen....

Who will be left for me along the upper Yangzi

After your solitary skiff has entered the end of the sky?

I ask you over and over when we shall meet again,

While we soften with winecups this ache of farewell.


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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