Boudoir Bitterness
- Poetry of Yu Xuanji


- Last updated: 2024-05-16 10:35:46

Boudoir Bitterness by Yu Xuanji





English Translation

The grass overgrown with weeds

fills her hands

as she weeps in the late sunlight

she's just heard

her neighbor's husband has come back home

only the other day

wild swans and geese

were heading north

this morning they came again

honking and calling

migrating south

springs come

autumns go

heart-sorrow stays

autumns go

springs come

and still no news

she slides the bolts

of her red doors—nobody's coming

why bother

pounding the laundry

or washing the curtains?


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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