Screened by Southern Curtain
- Poetry of Zhou Bangyan


- Last updated: 2024-03-17 18:49:30

Screened by Southern Curtain by Zhou Bangyan








English Translation

I burn an incense sweet 

To temper steamy heat.

Birds chirp at dawn beneath the eaves,

Announcing a fine day.The rising sun

Has dried last night's raindrops on lotus leaves 

Which,clear and round,dot water surface.One by one 

The lotus blooms stand up with ease 

And swing in morning breeze.

My homeland is far away,

When may I return to stay?

My kinsfolk live in South by city wall.

Why should I stay long in the capital?

Will not my fishing friends remember me in May?

In a short-oared light boat,it seems,

I'm back 'mid lotus blooms in dreams.

Zhou Bangyan(1057-1121),a court musician and poet skilled in the composition of "slow tunes,"has created a number of new patterns.This lyric describes in the first stanza a summer morning in the capital,and the second stanza expresses,the poet's longing for his homeland in the Soutn.

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.

© 2024 Famous Chinese Poems in English