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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

song dynasty cat

There's a particular poem I wanted to send along to a friend, written by a man who lived long ago who suffered a reversal of political fortunes. He was left with his son and daughter, and was telling them as he walked along in the poem that they were really very lucky compared to some. I remember part of it as:

. . .You can see the ragged young woman
Some people call the Justice's Miss --
Her father too was a palace official;
They were all in their day exceedingly rich.
When you look at other people, my children,
You can see how generous Heaven has been.

Anyway, I thought that was a Chinese poem, so I went looking. Didn't find that (if you do, will you tell me?) but I did find this on a site dedicated to Chinese Poems:

Sacrifice to the Cat that Scared all the Rats
Mei Yaochen (1002 - 1060)

When I had my Five White cat,
The rats did not invade my books.
This morning Five White died,
I sacrifice with rice and fish.
I see you off in the middle of the river,
I chant for you: I won't neglect you.
Once when you'd bitten a rat,
You took it crying round the yard.
You wanted to scare all the rats,
So as to make my cottage clean.
Since we came on board this boat,
On the boat we've shared a room.
Although the grain is dry and scarce,
I eat not fearing piss or theft.
That's because of your hard work,
Harder working than chickens or pigs.
People stress their mighty steeds,
Saying nothing's like a horse or ass.
Enough- I'm not going to argue,
But cry for you a little.

-- See this poem in original Chinese and stages of translation here.

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