Poem by Zhang Ji 張繼


"Anchored at Night by Maple Bridge"

As the moon sets the crows cry, and frosty mist fills the sky,
The riverside maples and fires of fishermen reflect in travel weary eyes.
From the Cold Mountain temple outside the walls of Gusu,
The sounds of late night bells reach the ferries.

Zhang Ji 張繼 (8th century)


  1. Beautiful post. My thanks.

  2. Nice translation! I especially like the translation of 愁眠 as travel weary eyes. Where did you come across this poem by 张继?After reading it a second time, though, I'm curious to know whether in the first line you wanted the meaning to imply that the crows cry and the frosty mist both filled the sky or just the frosty mist? If it was just the mist and not also the sound of the crows cry as well, I wonder if a common after the the word 'cry' would help separate the objects and make that clear. e.g. -

    As the moon sets and the crows cry, a frosty mist fills the sky.

    But either way, great translation.

  3. Judging from the syntax, I think the crows are crying but not filling the sky. It is the mist filling the sky. Good idea about the comma.

    I came across this poem in a collection of Chinese poems in a modern Japanese paperback (the 講談社学術文庫 series). It has the original Chinese plus annotations and a modern Japanese translation, all of which are quite helpful. I actually find Japanese works on Chinese poetry a bit easier to handle than modern Mandarin ones since they don't assume you have a vast knowledge of Chinese already. They're very user friendly.

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