Poems of Mi Fu
The Fragrance that Fills the Room, chanted over tea
Let us toast these elegant hovering swallows,
and idle talk, and empty gestures.
I am an envoy to this exalted meeting of the wise.
Trouble brews between two phoenixes.
First, they break the golden threads that bind us.
Out the window, the smoke of fires moves of its own accord.
Let us open this jar of wine.
A first-rate aroma springs forth.
Gentle waves arise.
Their fragrance gives birth to a jade teat
and vengeance splashes purple in the goblets.
Delicate bun of hair above a charming glance,
she lifts her two green sleeves.
Walking steadily through the pink lotuses,
she stops within the sadness of her capsized guests.
Waking from her stupor, she sings upon the balcony,
then lights a candle painted on fine silk.
Her blue-white horses play among the flowers
as the moonshadows lengthen.
But if we examine ourselves, we see
our remaining joys are not yet exhausted.
I would go now. But I cannot bring myself to leave.
What a lovely poem to hear declaimed at tea time. I suspect Mi Fu of taking his tea alone, with the empty seats around him full of the exalted wise. I suspect him of drinking wine instead of tea. And I suspect the woman in the second verse of being the vengeance in the first verse's goblet. Snow is a symbol of vengeance, especially one which wipes out a humiliation. So she should be a good vengeance. But drunk, crazed, and destructive, she isn't up to the task. An attractive woman. But one likely to burn the house down in a distracted moment. Her sleeves could be black instead of (blue-)green, Chinese colors being what they are. And she rides a blue-white horse. There is probably only one horse here. But the English sounds better in the plural. Feel free to reduce the number of horses to suit.