Visiting Master Zhao and Not Finding Him
- Poetry of Yu Xuanji

《访赵鍊师不遇》

- Last updated: 2024-06-03 11:11:45

Visiting Master Zhao and Not Finding Him by Yu Xuanji
中文原文

何处同仙侣,青衣独在家。

暖炉留煮药,邻院为煎茶。

画壁灯光暗,幡竿日影斜。

殷勤重回首,墙外数枝花。


English Translation

I wanted to be with someone

of spiritual refinement

I find his house is empty,

only the maid is home

his crucible's still warm

from cooking up herb medicines

outside in the courtyard

tea leaves are still simmering

a few dim lamps

next to the painted walls

a long shadow by the signal pole

that faces the setting sun

as I leave I keep turning around

hoping to find he's come back—

just a few blooming branches

brushing the outside walls.

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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