Selling the Last Peonies
- Poetry of Yu Xuanji


- Last updated: 2024-05-16 10:31:48

Selling the Last Peonies by Yu Xuanji





English Translation

Facing the wind makes us sigh

we know how many flowers fall

spring has come back again

and where have the fragrant longings gone?

who can afford these peonies?

their price is much too high

their arrogant aroma

even intimidates butterflies

flowers so deeply red

they must have been grown in a palace

leaves so darkly green

dust scarcely dares to settle there

if you wait till they're transplanted

to the Imperial Gardens

then you, young lords, will find

you have no means to buy them.

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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