Too much have I decayed!
- Poetry of Xin Qiji


- Last updated: 2024-02-23 11:13:38

Too much have I decayed! by Xin Qiji













English Translation

Alas, all my life I've seen friends and companions fall off,

And now how many of them survive?

With gray hair hanging in vain three thousand zhang long,

I laugh away all worldly things.

Is there anything left, you ask, that might cheer me?

I see in green mountains such charm allure,

I expect they see the same in me,

For in heart and in appearance

We are a bit similar.

Goblet in hand, scratching my head at the east window,

I presume that Tao Yuanming, having finished his poem

Hovering Clouds,

Was in the same mood I am now.

Those on the south side of the Yangtze who play drunkard

in pursuit of fame,

How could they know the magic of unstrained wine?

Looking back, I'll conjure a gust of wind

and send clouds flying.

I regret not that I can't meet the ancients,

But that the ancients had no chance to see my wildness.

Those who understand me

Number only two or three.

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.

© 2024 Famous Chinese Poems in English