On Seeing the Snow-peak of Zhongnan
- Poetry of Zu Yong

《终南望馀雪》

- Last updated: 2024-05-11 11:07:19

On Seeing the Snow-peak of Zhongnan by Zu Yong
中文原文

终南阴岭秀,积雪浮云端。

林表明霁色,城中增暮寒。


English Translation

See how Zhongnan Mountain soars

With its white top over floating clouds --

And a warm sky opening at the snow-line

While the town in the valley grows colder and colder.

Five-character-quatrain

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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