Lyrics to the Bodhisattva Melody
- Poetry of Zhang Xian


- Last updated: 2024-06-13 12:04:03

Lyrics to the Bodhisattva Melody by Zhang Xian





English Translation

A Xiang River melody comes from a zither played plaintively,

Its every note depicts every green river ripple of Xiang expressively.

Slender fingers over thirteen strings

Stroke and pluck her deep lament delicately.

During the banquet, her eyes languors show,

The zither neck placed at a slant the manner of dashing geese imitate.

When her play comes to a segment that is most mournful,

Her brows are like mountains in spring overcast with clouds that hang low.


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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