Are you crazy? CRITICISM Third, he translates the ancient past—the events of the original Chinese poem which take place in the eighth century—into the present of the twentieth century. The reader understands her regret that her newfound passion was too brief. Copyright © 1985 by The University of Chicago press. First, Pound transcribes the words and their meaning from the Chinese language to the English. Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. Archaeologists believe that the first organized society, the Shang dynasty, existed from approximately 1500 to 1100 B.C. Historical Context. In these closing lines of the poem and the "letter" the river-merchant's wife reaches out from her lonely world of sorrow to her husband in a direct request: Please let me know when and by what route you are returning, so that I may come to meet you. seem less and less like translations and more and more like original poems.”. MAPS welcomes submissions of original essays and teaching materials related to MAPS poets and the Anthology of Modern American Poetry. Chinese history presents a rich and complex tapestry. It is unclear whether “climb the lookout” in line 14 is a reference to a ritual performed in this culture by a wife after death, perhaps to look for other offers to marry that might come her way. It first appeared in Pound's 1915 collection Cathay. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Therefore, this is a rhetorical, sarcastic, ironic question. Nevertheless, he sees Cathay: Translations, containing the much anthologized poem “The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter,” as more than intelligent literary archaeology of poems from eighth century China. The Chinese also made several technological advances, and government was directed by a code of laws based on Confucian principles. For here, the new chapter is not a new period in her life but a new awareness, a realization, a new sense of what it means to be a wife, and especially this Chinese wife. Only mercantile, not diplomatic, relations existed between China and Europe. It is said that Pound created the Chinese poem in English. SOURCES INTRODUCTION (After the book came out in print his friend wrote from the Marne that he kept it at all times in his pocket.) In "The River-Merchant's Wife," moreover, this is only the first hint of suppressed ambivalence. But her point here is to confess the depth of her love. The vows of the marriage ceremony, "till death us do part," are evoked in lines 12 and 13 and poignantly reinforced by the triple repetition in line 13 of "forever." It is unclear whether "climb the lookout" in line 14 is a reference to a ritual performed in this culture by a wife after death, perhaps to look for other offers to marry that might come her way. Imagism flourished in Britain and in the United States for a brief period that is generally considered to be somewhere between 1909 a…, T'ao Ch'ien The two are now torn apart, and the wife is left alone to mourn his absence. According to Frost, poetry is so specific to its host language that if one translates a poem one loses all that made it poetic in the first place. 1956 Alexander, Michael, The Poetic Achievement of Ezra Pound, University of California Press, 1979, 247 p. Eliot, T. S., “The Method of Pound,” The Athenaeum, No. Notice how this stanza depends on particulars, on visible things, not on generalizations. Indeed, if that is the case, if it is true that her knowledge, her wisdom can only make sense if we know what it is like to be a Chinese sixteen-year-old wife in the eighth century then this poem as a translation from the Chinese of Li Po has, thanks to Pound, given us another culture and another time: it has become a masterpiece of translation itself. to 200 A.D., expanded the boundaries of China, in a successful effort to gain control of the Silk Road. EXPLANATION: "The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter" Lines 1-6. The poet employs direct address throughout the poem, taking on the persona of the wife as the “I” who is writing the letter and thus entering her experience. Muslim Arabs had invaded Spain; Slavic invaders attacked from the East.