- Poetry of Zhang Jiuling


- Last updated: 2024-04-18 23:28:04

THOUGHTS I by Zhang Jiuling






English Translation

A lonely swan from the sea flies,

To alight on puddles it does not deign.

Nesting in the poplar of pearls

It spies and questions green birds twain:

"Don't you fear the threat of slings,

Perched on top of branches so high?

Nice clothes invite pointing fingers,

High climbers god's good will defy.

Bird-hunters will crave me in vain,

For I roam the limitless sky."


· Prein Spring
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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