Poems of Mi Fu
The Proud Usurper
Once upon a time, the red sun was very self-indulgent.
He gathered up all the best gold and bright jade
until his treasure ushered in the age of the future Buddha.
By the Sea Dragon's palace,
heavenly flowers constantly rained down.
One day, from far away, flashing swords arrived.
A giant with a bushy beard made the mountains shake
as his army and his straining chariot climbed Mount Tai.
This is all beyond reason.
Do not let the Sea Dragon's uncle toy with our nation.
A political satire which I cannot begin to decode. You would need to know who the big guy with the bushy beard was, for starters. Unless bushy beards were a symbol for something. You'd think the red sun was an emperor. But dragons are emperors too. So you'd need to know if the Jin or the Song had an emperor whose uncle had distinctive facial hair. Then check to make sure the other one had an emperor who was into Buddhism. And you'll have to do it without me. I'm only in the Song while I translate Mi Fu's dozen and a half poems. I wanted to see what a crazy Song calligrapher was like after having translated the crazy Tang calligrapher, Zhang Xu. I have four more Mi Fu poems to go and then I'm out of here and back into the Tang, where I belong.