From the River
- Poetry of Wen Tingyun


- Last updated: 2024-03-21 19:56:52

From the River by Wen Tingyun








English Translation


By the lakeside,

She gazes on far-flung pathways,

Flowery bridges and beach in rainy haze.

It's a sad sight the songstress fair 

Knitting her soft brows cannot bear 

All the day long.

How can she forget the evening tidal song?

Where is his boat which has to roam 

Far,far from her and far from home?

It is late spring,

And her heart will break to hear orioles sing.

Taking a look,

West of the brook,

At the long willowy pathway,

She cannot hear the horse of the roamer neigh.

This lyric depicts the sorrow of a fair songstress who,gazing in the rain on the pathway where her beloved parted from her,and remembering the evenings they used to spend together,is waiting in vain for his return.

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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