Thursday, May 21, 2009

Peonies in bloom

A chive blossom is just a chive blossom....until you get on your belly, flip onto your back, and climb inside amongst them.



My hair is drying in the sun. The air smells like lilacs and tall grass and cedar oil. On the shed wall is a fishing float, a candle lantern, and a beautiful black and white photo of a falling leaf. All of the doors and windows are open. I am barely dressed. There are miles and miles of sunny days ahead. I can feel them beneath my naked toes.


One of my favorite flowers, the peony, is in bloom out in the yard. I rubbed my lips across it's baby's butt soft petals and whispered a little "thank goodness." Thank goodness the greedy deer didn't eat you before I had a chance to kiss you.

Check out Marina's excitement (goats and panties, oh my!) as part of the Beginner's Ball. We all start somewhere. What a great thing to celebrate it! Thanks to you ballroom bloggers for giving us all something to dance about and a place to share.

Coming soon: Noon. A follow-up to the "Morning" post. Noon will be followed by Night, which will be followed by (sorry, just can't help myself) Fourth Meal.
Embrace the day! (between your legs, under the sheets & over the rail). If not for yourself, do it for your country. 'Cuz if we don't laugh and play, somebody mean and grumpy wins.

Selling of the Last Peonies
By Yu Xuanji, Daoist nun & Concubine
China, about 1,500 years ago

Who can afford these peonies?
their price is much too high

their arrogant aroma
even intimidates butterflies

flowers so deeply red
they must have been grown in a palace

leaves so darkly green
dust scarcely dares to settle there

if you wait till they're transplanted
to the Imperial Gardens

then you, young lords, will find
you have no means to buy them.


6 comments:

BadAssKona said...

Flowers, flowers, everywhere. In the ferns, in the fields, in her hair and, in his arms, the sweetest flower of all....

Craig Sorensen said...

Ah, beautiful post. Peonies are one of my faves too, maybe because of my love of Chinese poets.

Where did you find that particular translation. I have a book called Autumn Willows, which includes a number of poems by women poets of the T'ang including many by the lovely Yu Xuanji, but I'm not too pleased with how they executed the translations. I think they tried to hard to make them "accessible."

Anyway, thanks for a spring feast for the senses.

Marina said...

Aw, I love peonies! And chive blossoms! Beautiful - thanks! And, thanks for the mention about the Beginner's Ball!

Kirsten Monroe said...

Hi BAK! Thank you! Indeed, 'tis true!

Hi Craig, I just happened upon that translation at this site: http://itsaboutimewriters.homestead.com/CraftIdore.html

I hadn't thought about the translation -- now I'm going to pay attention to that!

Thanks Marina -- the Beginner's Ball is wonderful. Such great conversations!

Kirsten Monroe said...

Craig, I re-read the page where I found that poem and here is the specific volume where the translation comes from: David Young's "Introduction" to the collection of Yu's poems, The Clouds Float North.

Craig Sorensen said...

Thanks for checking into it, Kirsten. If you'd like a look into the power of translation, there is a diminutive volume called Nineteen Ways of Looking at Wang Wei.Here's a link:

http://www.amazon.com/Nineteen-Ways-Looking-Wang-Wei/dp/0918825148/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1243020397&sr=8-3

This little gem takes one classic T'ang Chinese poem and shows how it was translated by different people. It really gives you a sense of the power of the translator, and without a great deal of investment of time.

Cheers