Looking Toward an Inner Gate of The Great Wall
- Poetry of Zu Yong

《望蓟门》

- Last updated: 2024-05-06 17:33:15

Looking Toward an Inner Gate of The Great Wall by Zu Yong
中文原文

燕台一望客心惊,笳鼓喧喧汉将营。

万里寒光生积雪,三边曙色动危旌。

沙场烽火连胡月,海畔云山拥蓟城。

少小虽非投笔吏,论功还欲请长缨。


English Translation

My heart sank when I headed north from Yan Country

To the camps of China echoing ith bugle and drum.

...In an endless cold light of massive snow,

Tall flags on three borders rise up like a dawn.

War-torches invade the barbarian moonlight,

Mountain-clouds like chairmen bear the Great Wall from the sea.

...Though no youthful clerk meant to be a great general,

I throw aside my writing-brush --

Like the student who tossed off cap for a lariat,

I challenge what may come.

Five-character-regular-verse

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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