On the pavilion
- Poetry of Yan Shu

《浣溪沙》

- Last updated: 2024-03-23 10:36:12

On the pavilion by Yan Shu
中文原文

一曲新词酒一杯,去年天气旧亭台。

夕阳西下几时回?

无可奈何花落去,似曾相识燕归来。

小园香径独徘徊。


English Translation

On the pavilion,same day,same weather,

you'd left me without sound,now afterglow floated,

i wrote a new song,prepared a grape wine.

Nothing could return like those fallen flowers,

it seemed that i saw you in this cherry field.

wandered my soul with the wind in singing of pink petals.

Yan Shu(991-1055)passed the civil service examinations in his early teens and became prime minister under the reign of Emperor Song Ren Zong (reigned 1022-1063).This poem was written for a beautiful songstress for whom he had composed lyrical songs one year before.

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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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