Spring in Painted Hall
- Poetry of Zhang Xian

《画堂春·外湖莲子长参差》

- Last updated: 2024-04-02 14:38:42

Spring in Painted Hall by Zhang Xian
中文原文

外湖莲子长参差,霁山青处鸥飞。

水天溶漾画桡迟,人影鉴中移。

桃叶浅声双唱,杏红深色轻衣。

小荷障面避斜晖,分得翠阴归。


English Translation

The lotus blooms in outer lake grow high and low;

After the rain over green hills fly the gulls white.

The painted boats on rippling water slowly go;

Our shadows move on mirror bright.

Two maidens sing the song of peach leaf in voices low,

Clad in light clothes apricot-red.

They come back with green shadow fed.

The poet describes the lake and two maidens gohering lotus seeds.

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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