The Blossoms of the Narcissuses

Zhou, Mi   (1232 A.D.-1298 A.D.)

    Along the shore of the Chu River, I see Queen Xiang 1 again. She subtly reveals the spring spirit. I remain silent, but I cannot stop my tears from falling. The blossoms lean against the east wind in vain. Who can understand their yearnings? The autumn chill is endless on Ling-bo (ride the waves) Road. Fragrant clouds rise in the wake of steps. The narcissuses remind me of the Palm of a God 2 standing tall under the bright moon in the Han Palace.

    Ice threads 3 contain more passion when expressed as sorrow. Poets write poems on fragrant orchids and serene grass to no avail. Spring spirits are distant. Who will appreciate the special beauty of the blossom of a narcissus? The blossoms and I are companions in the winter. By the clean small window my green sleeves are immersed in dense incense smoke. When awakening from my dreams, I see the dewy blossoms waving in the lamp shadows.

1 "Shui-xian" is Chinese for "narcissus". Literally, "Shui-xian" means the goddess of water and Queen Xiang means the patron goddess of the Xiang River. Here Queen Xiang refers to narcissuses.

2 Emperor Wu of the Han dynasty built the Palm of a God holding a plate to accept divine dew. Here the Palm of a God refers to the blossom of a narcissus. If one can visualize the stem of a narcissus as the god's arm, then the blossom of a narcissus will be the god's palm. The poem "Peonies" written by Shang-yin Li says, "The hanging hands (peonies) rashly play with the jade ornaments on my belt."

3 "Ice threads" refers to narcissuses.