Whole River Red · The Rhythm of Touring Nan Yan and Fan Kuo
- Poetry of Xin Qiji


- Last updated: 2024-06-23 10:33:54

Whole River Red · The Rhythm of Touring Nan Yan and Fan Kuo by Xin Qiji









English Translation

Laughter rings through the tall cliffs, asking the thousands of zhang, who cut the emerald rocks? (Zhàng / 丈 measurement of land – roughly equivalent to 3.2 metres)

[Scenery] remains, of autumn wind and white horse, from north village to southern outer wall. (Touring Nan Yan all over again today, the scenery remains the same)

The seemingly gambrel monk house is an uneven mess, to breathe in or out the forest mist is thin.

Feel that in the mortal world, everything will come to autumn, all shaken down. (Shaking down refers to the falling leaves in autumn, representing the poet’s feelings after losing many important things within this life)

Calling for a drinking contest pouring for the lord.

In a more hidden spot, searching for serene arrangement.

Repeated warnings to take a rest from heavy loads, don’t become the apes and cranes of the northern mountain. (Urging to retire and live in seclusion earlier, don’t spend a long time unwilling to part from officialdom.)

There are deer seeking deer dreams from the watercourse, one that is not a fish will certainly not understand the joys of a fish. (Being in the officialdom is not the equivalent of being happy, as for the joys of fishes swimming in water, it is something that cannot be appreciated by those that have not retired)

Looking, up, the flying birds actually responds to people, looking back [already done] wrong. (Looking up, fondly watching the birds, thinking the birds are responding, only to find)

Written in tune of  Whole River Red or Mǎn Jiāng Hóng / 满江红, depicting the scene of late autumn in Nan Yan, expressing the poet’s hopes to regain the patriotic feelings of the rivers and mountains. Such words speaks of him trying to restore the passionate partiotism of national unity, grieving how difficult it is for such aspirations to be rewarded, facing those in power at the time, who sought to humilate and do a lot of reprimanding. Due to Xin Ji Qi’s support against golds and riches clashing with the political opinions of the ruling power at the time, he was later impeached and removed from his official post, thus retiring to the lake of Jiangxi Province.

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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