Poems of Mi Fu
Moonviewing Festival, Climb Tower, Gaze Longingly at Moon
The eye is impoverished as Huai waters fill with silver.
All say these rainbow beams create a mother-of-pearl treasure.
In the heavens, nothing seems taller than the moon.
Yet the cassia branches fail to hold it as it turns westward.
I think someone forced Mi Fu to come along for the Mid-Autumn celebrations. Or he came on purpose to make fun of the moon-viewing festivities. The title of the poem is a good indication of his attitude, especially if read in an Eeyoric monotone. The first line is exagerrated cliché. The second line actually comes across as "All say (or In myriad ways...) rainbow beams spawn clam treasures." You have to twist its arm to conform it to the occasion. The third line achieves awkward misuse of the language by going with 修 (tall and skinny) instead of 高 (high). The fourth line manages to be straight poetry, so the listener couldn't accuse him of outright incompetence. Cassia (桂) is bound up in moon lore. There's a giant cassia tree on the moon and someone there is condemned to eternally try to cut it down as it self-heals. The rabbit in the moon eternally pounds cassia into immortality medicine. So the last line borders on cliché but does not quite cross the border. Plus, it puns on "cassia branches" as 桂枝 can be simply the branches or it can mean a slightly stupifying pain-killing medicine. So, extra points on the last line and Mi Fu wins the Iron Man Moon-Mocking Competition.