On the Advent of Spring
- Poetry of Xin Qiji


- Last updated: 2024-06-26 11:04:38

On the Advent of Spring by Xin Qiji









English Translation

Spring has returned!

Just look at spring’s streamers and ribbons

Gracefully dancing on pretty maidens’ heads.

Alas, the indiscriminate wind and rain

Yet reluctant to store away the lingering cold!

Seasonal swallows,

I imagine, will this night

Dream of returning to their orchard,

Though unprepared to scent

The golden tangerines that go with wine

Among green leeks and scallions piled on the plate.


From this time on, I should laugh at the east wind

That perfumes the plum flowers and dyes the willow

Without any let-up;

Then steal one idle moment, looking at a mirror,

And see the ruby color fade from my cheeks.

Oh, interminable grief!

Who, let me ask,

Knows the clue to uncouple these interlocked jade-rings?

I dread most to see

Flowers bloom and flowers fall.

When morning comes, the frontier geese will be the first to come home.

By Xin Qiji

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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