Observe my delicate Koong-see, whey-faced
beside the lattice fence and warming
in her palm my gift of an ivory bead.
In the palace garden’s midnight
blue the apple tree lets fall its fruit
as Koong-see walks and thinks of love.
Close by, you see the suitor’s
tilting barge, his chests of gold and jade
which turn the mandarin’s head
and here’s the drunken duke waving
his horsehair whip as we tiptoe
from the wedding feast across the bridge.
Observe the stippled willow leaves –
how like the feathers of our souls
as we fly from the porcelain rim.