A Poem Sent to Li Ying to Match His "Fishing in Summer"
- Poetry of Yu Xuanji


- Last updated: 2024-05-22 10:53:29

A Poem Sent to Li Ying to Match His "Fishing in Summer" by Yu Xuanji





English Translation

It's odd that you and I live

here on the very same street

and not even once a year

do we run across each other

if you want to impress an old girl friend

you need to produce a pure poem

leaves of the fragrant cassia

break out along new boughs

the nature of the Tao

is simpler than ice or snow

the understanding of Zen

mocks the expense of gauze and silk

my spiritual footprints rise

into the empyrean

but there isn't any path

across love's waves and mist.

Five-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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