“On Ascending Heron Lodge” by Wang Zhihuan

The white sun ends itself against the hills,
The Yellow River flows into the sea.
The eyes that wish to glean a thousand li –
They must climb one more level of the lodge

《登鹳雀楼》/ 王之涣
白日依山尽,黄河入海流。
欲穷千里目,更上一层楼。

(Literal Translation)
White sun lean mountain end,
Yellow river into ocean flow,
Want throughly thousand li eyes,
More up one level tower.

Translation Notes: The poem’s title is commonly translated as “At Heron Lodge”, but I believe my version gives a better sense of the poem’s intended meaning. I used iambic pentameter to approximate the five-character couplets of the poem.

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4 thoughts on ““On Ascending Heron Lodge” by Wang Zhihuan

  1. Just passed-by, I remembered having this poem translated during the high school Chinese class, simply write here to share with you 🙂

    白日依山尽,黄河入海流。
    欲穷千里目,更上一层楼。

    The sun falls behind the mountains,
    The Yellow River flows into the sea.
    If you want to see farther and farther,
    then you have to climb higher and higher.

  2. Hello, and thanks for sharing! I’ve seen that translation too actually, and while I think it is actually pretty good and captures the metaphorical meaning of the poem very well I wanted to do one that stuck more strictly to meter and kept a bit more of the sense of the original Chinese.

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