The Book
- Poetry of Zhu Xi

《观书有感》

- Last updated: 2024-04-17 15:40:08

The Book by Zhu Xi
中文原文

半亩方塘一鉴开,天光云影共徘徊。

问渠那得清如许,为有源头活水来。


English Translation

There lies a glassy oblong pool,

Where light and shade pursue their course.

How could it be so clear and cool?

For fresh water comes from the source.

By Zhu Xi

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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