Dance of the Cavalry
- Poetry of Yan Shu


- Last updated: 2024-03-23 10:35:57

Dance of the Cavalry by Yan Shu







English Translation

When swallows come,we worship gods of spring;

Then flowers fall,we mourn for the dear dead.

We hear,amid the leaves,the orioles sing;

Beside the pool we see the green moss spread.

The willow catkins fly as the day's lengthening.

My neighbour's daughter and her friends are sweet,

Mulberry leaves to gather now they meet.

Last night,she wonders,why such happy dreams?

They foretell that she wins the game of grass,it seems.

A sparkling smile upon her fair face beams.

This poem depicts in the first stanza the spring days when country folk worshipped local gods and mourned for their ancestors.In the second we find a vivid description of country lasses gathering mulberry leaves for silkworms and playing the game of one hundred grasses.

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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