Practice your Chinese speaking with a ten-line Chinese contemporary poem 偶然

Posted by Grace Feng on December 11, 2012

Recitation of contemporary poem following a good recording could be one good way to practice your Chinese speaking. To get the tones and rhythm right is the key.

偶然 ǒurán (Fortuitousness) is a good choice for this practice since it only has ten lines and is written with simple Chinese words. This poem is written in May of 1926 by the famous poet 徐志摩 Xú Zhìmó, whom I’ve introduced in 再别康桥 Leaving the Revisited Cambridge. As you’ll figure out soon, the voice in the recording on youtube is of 张妙阳 zhāng miào yáng – one of my favorite dubbing artists.

I’d suggest you to listen to the video first. Once you understand the poem with the help of the transcripts below the video, you can start reading out loud with the video. Focus on tones and sound that you feel challenging first and work your way up to satisfactory.

For readers in China that can’t access youtube.com, you can watch it from youku.com:




作者: 徐志摩
















zuòzhě: Xú Zhìmó

wǒ shì tiānkōng lǐ de yīpiàn yún,
ǒu’ěr tóuyǐng zài nǐ de bō xīn;
nǐ bùbì yàyì,
gèng wúxū huānxǐ,
zài zhuàn shùnjiān xiāomiè le zōngyǐng。

nǐ wǒ xiāngféng zài hēiyè de hǎishàng,
nǐ yǒu nǐ de, wǒ yǒu wǒ de, fāngxiàng;
nǐ jìde yě hǎo,
zuìhǎo nǐ wàngdiào,
zài zhè jiāohuì shí hù fàng de guāngliàng。


[English translation]


by Xu Zhimo


Being a cloud in the sky

On your heart lake I cast my figure.

You don’t have to wonder.

Nor should you cheer.

In an instant I will disappear.


On the dark sea we encounter

In different directions of our own we steer.

It’s nice for you to remember.

But you’d better forget the luster

That we’ve been devoted to each other.


Related posts:

Live and die in lyrics - the life of a romantic Chinese poet 1000 years ago - 柳永
Recital of the Chinese poem on a memorial stone at Cambridge - 再别康桥 Leaving the Revisited Cambridge
The resolution behind a suicidal mind - 海子's poem 面朝大海 春暖花開 [Chinese poem recitation]


Category: Chinese poems

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6 Responses to “Practice your Chinese speaking with a ten-line Chinese contemporary poem 偶然”

  1. nothing


    12-11-2012 5:44 pm

    哇,这真是一个了不起的一首诗!给我一个无足轻重的感觉。 我非记住这首诗不可。

    我能提出一个小错误吗? 在第三诗句作者说的不是’惊异’二是’讶异’,。


    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      12-12-2012 4:08 am

      听力不错啊, 这个词的差别都没放过! 多谢提醒, 刚把错改了. :-)


  2. nothing


    12-15-2012 6:27 am

    language learners are often more letters pple(rather than maths people)

    then poems are a very good means/medium/material to learn a language,since literature people like them a lot and are more sensitive to them. it was a bright marvelous idea.
    moreover i have some good news about my studies, from this recitation ,I was able to hear some tones and differentiate them from others…but not all of them, most of them i still stumble.

    is that normal ? i mean when you start to hear the tones, should you be hearing all of them ?


    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      12-15-2012 2:44 pm

      That’s a very good news Kaviche!

      About tones, if you can hear some of them, that is already a good start point. No need to stress yourself up upon hearing all of them. As a matter of fact, if we read a Chinese poem character by character, you probably will be able to hear the tone of each character for your current level. However, in real-life spoken mandarin, a big part of characters will be pronounced fast and short, even natives can’t say for sure they hear each single tone clearly.

      The five tones are just guideline on how a Chinese character is pronounced individually. However, in real life speech, some of them don’t always carry the tones they suppose to. That’s why you need lots of attentive listening practice to train your ears on them.


  3. nothing


    01-15-2017 12:32 pm

    Just wanted to say that in the third line of the pinyin it should be bu4bi4 and then ya4yi4 (It’s correct with the characters but the pinyin says bu4bi4 jing1yi4 right now) Just wanted to let anyone know who was confused :)


    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      01-21-2017 4:12 am

      Good catch Luke! Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

      Now it’s fixed.



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