Poems of Bai Juyi
White blossom, tranquil, cold, unloved.
Yet by your fragrance, we all know your name.
In the Eastern Palace, they would praise your good in vain
Unless they could turn your head by giving it a title.
This poem is from 815, during Bai Juyi's stint of exile in an imperial office in Sichuan. It is certainly not about a flower. Clearly, he has a particular someone in mind to be represented as the white peony. And in spite of Bai Juyi being only 33 here and well-known as an idealist, I perceive a bit of cynicism in the final line. Bai Juyi does live as an intelligent man in the real word and sees things as they are. Remaining a sentimental idealist at the same time is a measure of his greatness.