Autumn Lament
- Poetry of Yu Xuanji


- Last updated: 2024-05-24 13:50:00

Autumn Lament by Yu Xuanji



English Translation

You sigh, you're full of tenderness,

it's more than you can bear

too many love affairs, too much wind and moon—

and the courtyard is loaded with autumn

the sound of the water-clock's close by—

just outside your bridal chamber

and night by night, next to the lamp,

your hair is turning white.

Seven-character poem

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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