Peonies Cut Down
- Poetry of Zhang Xian

《剪牡丹·舟中闻双琵琶》

- Last updated: 2023-12-15 23:53:34

Peonies Cut Down by Zhang Xian
中文原文

野绿连空,天青垂水,素色溶漾都净。

柳径无人,堕絮飞无影。

汀洲日落人归,修巾薄袂,撷香拾翠相竞。

如解凌波,泊烟渚春暝。

彩绦朱索新整。

宿绣屏、画船风定。

金凤响双槽,弹出今古幽思谁省。

玉盘大小乱珠迸。

酒上妆面,花艳眉相并。

重听。尽汉妃一曲,江空月静。


English Translation

The green plain extends far and wide,

The azure sky hangs over waterside.

The endless river flows with ripples purified.

On willowy lanes there's no man in sight;

The willow falls down without shadow in flight.

People come back,drowned in slanting sunlight.

Girt with long belt and dressed with thin sleeves,

Girls vie in plucking flowers and green leaves.

They know how to tread on the waves,it seems,

On misty rivershore spring dreams.


Newly adorned with tassels red and ribbons green,

They live behind embroidered screen.

The painted boat goes without breeze.

The golden phoenix on the pipa sings with ease.

Who knows if the woe old or new is played?

Big and small pearls run riot on the plate of jade.

Flowers and eyebrows vie in beauty in vain.

Listen again!

When the princess sings of her dream,

It will calm down the moon and the stream.

The poet describes his boating on the lake and the music of pipa he hears in the boat.The princess refers to Wang Zhoojun married to the Tartar chief in 33 BC and dreaming of returning wo her homeland.

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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