Thoughts on a Winter Night
- Poetry of Yu Xuanji

《冬夜寄温飞卿》

- Last updated: 2024-05-22 10:53:00

Thoughts on a Winter Night by Yu Xuanji
中文原文

苦思搜诗灯下吟,不眠长夜怕寒衾。

满庭木叶愁风起,透幌纱窗惜月沈。

疏散未闲终遂愿,盛衰空见本来心。

幽栖莫定梧桐处,暮雀啾啾空绕林。


English Translation

With painful thoughts I reach for verse

to read aloud by the lamp;

I do not sleep the long night,

fearful of frigid bedding.

A sad wind rises in the leaves

filling the yard outside;

regrettably, the moon has set

beyond the window screen.

My hope for freedom has after all

never been quite fulfilled;

through ups and downs I see in vain

my true original will.

To live in hiding, do not choose

a place in easy reach;

evening sparrows twittering

circle the woods and screech.

Seven-character poem

· PreWang Zhaojun
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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