Near the Lizhou Ferry
- Poetry of Wen Tingyun

《利州南渡》

- Last updated: 2024-05-10 21:08:53

Near the Lizhou Ferry by Wen Tingyun
中文原文

澹然空水对斜晖,曲岛苍茫接翠微,

波上马嘶看棹去,柳边人歇待船归。

数丛沙草群鸥散,万顷江田一鹭飞。

谁解乘舟寻范蠡,五湖烟水独忘机。


English Translation

The sun has set in the water's clear void,

And little blue islands are one with the sky.

On the bank a horse neighs. A boat goes by.

People gather at a willow- clump and wait for the ferry.

Down by the sand-bushes sea-gulls are circling,

Over the wide river-lands flies an egret.

...Can you guess why I sail, like an ancient wise lover,

Through the misty Five Lakes, forgetting words?

Seven-character-regular-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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