To Thank the Scholar Li for the Gift of a Bamboo Mat
- Poetry of Yu Xuanji

《酬李学士寄簟》

- Last updated: 2024-05-16 10:33:28

To Thank the Scholar Li for the Gift of a Bamboo Mat by Yu Xuanji
中文原文

珍簟新铺翡翠楼,泓澄玉水记方流。

唯应云扇情相似,同向银床恨早秋。


English Translation

This precious mat, newly spread out

in the Halcyon Pavilion

makes me think of the deep,

clear water that marks our local river

only a fan made of clouds

could match your priceless gift

I turn toward my silver bed

regretting the early autumn.

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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