The Partridge Sky
- Poetry of Xin Qiji


- Last updated: 2024-03-23 10:27:48

The Partridge Sky by Xin Qiji






English Translation

As a friend of mine talked about the victory we had won while young,I recollected those bygone days and wrote the following random lyric.

While young,beneath my flag I had ten thousand knights,

With these outfitted cavaliers I crossed the River.

The foe prepared their silver shafts during the nights;

During the days we shot darts from golden quiver.

Recalling days gone by,

I sigh over my plight:

The vernal wind can't change my hair to black from white.

Since thwarted is my plan for gaining the lost land,

I'd learn from gentle neighbours how to plant fruit trees by hand.

In 1162,xin Qi-ji aged 23 captured the traitor who had assassinated the leader of the Anti-Jurchen forces in the North,led his troops across the Yangtze River and served in the court of Southern Song.But his plan for taking back the lost Northern land was not adopted and he could not but live in seclusion in the countryside and learn from his neighbours how to cultivate the land.

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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