I went to a library the other day and found Roald Dahl's Matilda. I started reading, and I found what I think might be a typo (but maybe not---Roald Dahl has a quirky writing style):

The second page of Roald Dahl's Matilda

My transcription:


Here's my attempt at disassembling this:

If [如果] that day [那天], I [我] just enough [正好] am [是] poem [诗] emotion [情] break out [勃发], I [我] still [还] can [可能] write this way [这么写]: "although [虽说] it's odd [稀奇], but [却] it is [是] a fact [事实], ...

I'm just wondering how to make sense of this, particularly the part in bold.

Question: What does 我正好是诗情勃发 mean in the Chinese translation of Roald Dahl's Matilda (p.2)?

  • You seem to have added in an extra verb. It just says 如果那天我正好诗情勃发 – there’s no 是. Also, 正好 doesn’t mean ‘just enough’ here, but rather ‘just then happen to be’, i.e., “If on that day I just happened to…”. Sep 15, 2019 at 13:02

2 Answers 2


The original English (p. 4) of 如果那天我正好是诗情勃发 is:

"Or if I were feeling lyrical that day."

Your breakdown is okay. 诗情 is a word of its own though, it is defined by ABC as:

poetic sentiment

You might even make a case for 诗情勃发 as a single term.

Chinese translations of English works are notoriously bad in general and this translation doesn't seem any more natural.


诗情 (poetic sentiment) 畫意 (picture like feel)

"诗情畫意" is a common expression for "artistic vibe" (both poem and painting are art)

"lyrical" (抒情) is an adjective that describe a feeling of a person

"if I were feeling lyrical that day." should be translated as "如果那天我诗興大发"

"诗興" means "desire to create poem (desire to be artistic) "

"诗情勃发" would mean "my artistic vibe strongly express itself"

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