The Pear Garden ©

[This poem concerns Emperor Xuanzong, his beloved consort Yang Guifei, and the treacherous An Lushan of Tang Dynasty, China. An Lushan, once a friend turned traitor. The Emperor was a capable and conscientious ruler for half his reign, until he fell hopelessly in love with Yang Guifei (later memorialized in “Rainbow Garment Dance”), after which he abandoned matters of state for artistic pursuits in The Pear Garden. He ruled at the height of Tang glory, which was China’s “Golden Age”; his chronic neglect of duties created an opportunity for An Lushan, who staged a revolt, which quickly destroyed 1000’s of lives, Daming Palace, and the Tang Dynasty itself. Some historians do not place blame on Yang Guifei, as she was young and not politically ambitious. They blame the Emperor himself, who preferred song and dance (“fairies on the moon” a late favorite fantasy) to the well-being of his subjects and upkeep of a truly cosmopolitan empire.]

faint ting ting ting
bronze eave bells ring
beloved dance and sing
in rainy cool spring
pear blossoms beauty bring

as rain clouds part
she mimics Nature’s art
rainbow colors swiftly dart
giving onlookers a start
jeweled enchantment to impart

this our budding paradise!

before a dragon mural
smile like gleaming pearl
hair adorned with beryl 
her rainbow garment awhirl
merry musical notes aswirl

flute and pipa play
rousing tunes all day 
in sunshine or gray
troubles kept at bay
frivolity our joyous way

this our leafy paradise!

pears and peonies kissed
by dawn’s vermilion mist
sleeping soundly after tryst
silken sheets happily twist
ignoring Mandarin call list

auspicious star sheds beam
on clever playful dream
‘Sire — the loosening seam!’
life’s finely flowing stream
‘Sire — the souring cream!’

this our fruited paradise!

moon fairy’s graceful dance
and lovely painted glance
instantly charm and entrance
sets Dragon heart a-prance
‘Sire — spear and lance!’

winter comes to paradise
roll of gaming dice
officer’s warning ignored twice
pear wine, savory rice
An Lushan’s hidden vice

this our fading paradise


© Cindy Medina

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