Washing Yarn Temple
- Poetry of Yu Xuanji

《浣纱庙》

- Last updated: 2024-04-21 11:07:33

Washing Yarn Temple by Yu Xuanji
中文原文

吴越相谋计策多,浣纱神女已相和。

一双笑靥才回面,十万精兵尽倒戈。

范蠡功成身隐遁,伍胥谏死国消磨。

只今诸暨长江畔,空有青山号苎萝。


English Translation

State plots against state

intrigues come thick and fast

but here at Washing Yarn Temple

Xi Shi offers us harmony

a pair of faces can beam

just from turning to glimpse her

while thousands of seasoned troops

ground their weapons and surrender

Fan Li achieved his greatness

by turning away from the world

while Wu Xu had to die

in order to wear down the government

the great river confers a name

upon a place like Zhuji

but this blue mountain has long been known

as a beautiful woman's birthplace.

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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