A Drinking Song at Stone-fish Lake
- Poetry of Yuan Jie

《石鱼湖上醉歌》

- Last updated: 2024-04-22 14:31:00

A Drinking Song at Stone-fish Lake by Yuan Jie
中文原文

漫叟以公田酿酒,因休暇,载酒于湖上,时取一醉。欢醉中,据湖岸,引臂向鱼取酒,使舫载之,偏饮坐者。意疑倚巴丘酌于君山之上,诸子环洞庭而坐,酒舫泛泛然触波涛。而往来者,乃作歌以长之。

石鱼湖,似洞庭,夏水欲满君山青。

山为樽,水为沼,酒徒历历坐洲岛。

长风连日作大浪,不能废人运酒舫。

我持长瓢坐巴丘,酌饮四坐以散愁。


English Translation

I have used grain from the public fields, for distilling wine. After my office hours I have the wine loaded on a boat and then I seat my friends on the bank of the lake. The little wine-boats come to each of us and supply us with wine. We seem to be drinking on Pa Islet in Lake Dongting. And I write this poem.

Stone-Fish Lake is like Lake Dongting --

When the top of Zun is green and the summer tide is rising.

...With the mountain for a table, and the lake a fount of wine,

The tipplers all are settled along the sandy shore.

Though a stiff wind for days has roughened the water,

Wine-boats constantly arrive....

I have a long-necked gourd and, happy on Ba Island,

I am pouring a drink in every direction doing away with care.

Seven-character-ancient-verse

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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