An Elegy III
- Poetry of Yuan Zhen


- Last updated: 2024-05-09 11:40:23

An Elegy III by Yuan Zhen





English Translation

I sit here alone, mourning for us both.

How many years do I lack now of my threescore and ten?

There have been better men than I to whom heaven denied a son,

There was a poet better than I whose dead wife could not hear him.

What have I to hope for in the darkness of our tomb?

You and I had little faith in a meeting after death-

Yet my open eyes can see all night

That lifelong trouble of your brow.


· PreAn Elegy II
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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