The Song of a Dragon 1

Su, Dong-po (1036 A.D.-1101 A.D.)

    Poplar flowers are like flowers and not like flowers 2. No one cares about them when they fall. I have left my family and wandered on streets. It seems that I am heartless toward my family, but I miss my boyfriend who lives far away. The sorrow surrounds and breaks my heart. Tiredness intoxicates my tender eyes which remain closed even though they try to open. My dream follows the wind for a thousand miles in order to determine my boyfriend's whereabouts. However, I am awakened by the calls of orioles 3.

    I do not lament that all the flowers will fall, but I do lament that it is difficult for the fallen flowers in the west garden to join together. After the morning rain, I wonder why there is no trace of them. Only a pool of bits of algae remains. If Spring scenery is divided into three, two thirds of it will become dirt and dust, the rest will go with the flowing water. When I look more carefully, I see tears from separation rather than poplar flowers.

1 Su wrote this poem using the rhyming pattern of he poem "Poplar Flowers" written by Zhi-fu Zhang.

2 A poem written by Ju-yi Bai says, "Flowers are not like flowers; fog is not like fog."

3 A poem written in the Tang dynasty says, "I expel orioles and will not let them chirp from branches. Their noises frighten my dreams away. If I let them chirp, I would not be able to go to the west part of Liao (to meet my husband)."