A Night-mooring Near Maple Bridge
- Poetry of Zhang Ji

《枫桥夜泊》

- Last updated: 2024-03-21 20:12:20

A Night-mooring Near Maple Bridge by Zhang Ji
中文原文
Simplified Chinese Version

月落乌啼霜满天,江枫渔火对愁眠。

姑苏城外寒山寺,夜半钟声到客船。


Traditional Chinese Version

月落烏啼霜滿天, 江楓漁火對愁眠。

姑蘇城外寒山寺, 夜半鐘聲到客船。


English Translation

While I watch the moon go down, a crow caws through the frost;

Under the shadows of maple-trees a fisherman moves with his torch;

And I hear, from beyond Suzhou, from the temple on Cold Mountain,

Ringing for me, here in my boat, the midnight bell.

The moon has set and there is frost in the air. The lights from the fishing boats glitter like dancing fireflies.

Seven-character-quatrain

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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