Fisherman's Song
- Poetry of Zhang Zhihe


- Last updated: 2024-04-17 15:25:22

Fisherman's Song by Zhang Zhihe



English Translation

In front of western hills white egrets fly up and down,

In peach-mirrored stream mandarin fish are full grown.

In my blue bamboo hat

And green straw cloak,I'd fain

Go fishing careless of slanting wind and fine rain.

Zhang Zhihe (730-782)served in the court as a petty official and then retired to the riverside and lived in seclusion.This poem describing the happiness of a fisherman was wide spread and soon reached Japan.Even the Japanese Emperor (reigned 804-823)wrote five lyrics following the rhyme of his poem.

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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