Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Beautiful Toilet (may a woman never be one! attributed to Mei Sheng, 140 b.c.)

Blue, blue is the grass about the river And the willows have overfilled the close garden. And within, the mistress, in the midmost of her youth, White, white of face, hesitates, passing the door. Slender, she puts forth a slender hand; And she was a courtezan in the old days, And she has married a sot, Who now goes drunkly out And leaves her too much alone. Translated by Ezra Pound. Ibid. They called women like that a toilet in those days. What an analogy.

I don't even know where to begin with how wrong your interpretation is:

1) There weren't too many toilets in 140 BC;
2) 'Toilet' is being used here to describe putting on make-up;
3) This description comes from the original chinese poem, which Pound has translated 'freely'.
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