5 thoughts on “Autumn Day on the Lake by Hsueh Ying

  1. The last line is ambiguous. Is the concern that the sorrow and falling events are going away or coming toward him or asking where they come from? It would be interesting to get Mary Tang’s translation.

    • The Great Lake region was a major rice & silk producing area and during the later T’ang Dynasty was heavily taxed which, according to notes on the poem, led to several rebellions. Also, rivers in China generally flow east and that became a much used metaphor for the passage of time (note the reference to that in the third line). The poet is wondering why the sorrow referred to in line two seems to always be the result of that passage of time. The Chinese poets used several things in nature that stood as metaphors and often that use became a kind of dialogue between them throughout the ages. That’s why a translation isn’t always enough to get the full meaning and notes by the translators help. I think, though, the beauty of their imagery often transcends the time period they were written in.

      • Yes, I agree with that final comment of yours. This is the first time I have wanted an explanation. Thanks for that. I was thinking of the way the weather moves from the west to the east, but not that it was a metaphor for time.

  2. Have you seen Red Pine’s “Finding Them Gone,” about his travels visiting China’s ancient poets, or their graves, or some place nearby, and performing some kind of ritual involving whiskey? I’ve just started it; Mary gave it to me for my birthday. I think you’d like it.

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