She Sings an Old Song
- Poetry of Zhang Hu


- Last updated: 2024-05-11 12:32:58

She Sings an Old Song by Zhang Hu



English Translation

A lady of the palace these twenty years,

She has lived here a thousand miles from her home-

Yet ask her for this song and, with the first few words of it,

See how she tries to hold back her tears.


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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