Peonies Cut Down
- Poetry of Zhang Xian


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

Peonies Cut Down by Zhang Xian











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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