To the Cicada
- Poetry of Yu Shinan

《蝉》

- Last updated: 2024-03-22 20:56:12

To the Cicada by Yu Shinan
中文原文

垂緌饮清露,流响出疏桐。

居高声自远,非是藉秋风。


English Translation

Though rising high, you drink but dew;

Yet your voice flows from sparse plane trees.

Far and wide there's none but hears you;

You need no wings of autumn breeze.

By Yu Shinan

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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