How to Write a Chinese Poem
A well-known Japanese poet was asked how to compose a Chinese poem.
The usual Chinese poem is four lines,he explains. "The first line contains the initial phase; the second linethe continuation of that phase; the third line turns from this subject and begins a new one; and the fourth line brings the first three lines together. A popular Japanese song illustrates this:
Two daughters of a silk merchant live in Kyoto.
The elder is twentythe youngereighteen.
A soldier may kill with his sword.
But these girls slay men with their eyes.