The Early Lyrics of Midang, So Chong-Ju (1915 – 2000)


The Essence of Silla  (1960)



Queen Sondok speaks



My tomb will be in the second heaven

of this world of desire, above its verdant peaks.

There is blood, always blood, so inevitably

clouds thicken, rain sets in, in such a heaven, too.


There is blood, always blood,

which is why we must never be niggardly:

the rich must carry fuel and food to invalids,

sometimes they must comfort widows and widowers,

sturdy men must always stand on Chomsong-dae,

on Chomsong-dae.


As for the man driven mad by the flesh, by the flesh:

among the things that touch my flesh

lay the brightest on his breast, this bracelet of pure gold;

and if his troubled fire does not expire,

a song, to guide it across the seas to heaven's end.


But if it is love, if truly his fever is what is called love,

let it burn on for ever and ever,

longer than our laws founded by ancient wisdom,

longer than the fire of Silla's laws.


My tomb will be in the second heaven

of this world of desire, above its verdant peaks.

There is blood, always blood, so inevitably

clouds thicken, rain sets in, in such a heaven, too.


I cannot leave this spot.




Flower-garden monologue


A short poem spoken by Shasu



True, songs are fine, but even the finest

will only rise to the clouds, then return;

your speeding horse with its flashing hooves

was brought to a halt at the edge of the sea.

Now I have lost all desire for wild boar, arrow-struck,

or those mountain birds that the falcons take.

Dear flowers, each dawn new created,

I love you dearly, dearest of all

yet, like a child unable to swim

viewing its face in the water's gaze,

I simply stand leaning against the door you have closed.

I beseech you! Open this door. Open the door, dear flowers.

Though the way ahead lies through fire and flood,

I beseech you! Open this door. Open the door, dear flowers.




Shasu's second letter: a fragment



In the year following Shasu's reclusion in the mountains, a second letter was brought to her father, bound to the leg of her hawk. This was written, not with a bird's blood, but with a finger dipped in the juice of fragrant plants. The paper was once again from a roll of mulberry paper she had taken from home.

  This is all that remains of the first half of the letter:



I have recovered now from the disease

that caused the buzzing in my blood.


In the spring this year

my hawk

spied out a misty field, a little patch

dark buckwheat green like sweet rivers' flow,


that was five or six months ago, today

the pink clover bushes are a grove. My blood rustled,

now it has burst into flames like jade-green starlight,

and reveals to the skies the mother lode of native gold.



it unfolds that mother lode of native gold to the skies

for you,

for my little Bulgonae, for Bulgonae's unknown father too,

and for all the young girls who will follow us

in a thousand far off, distant years.




Silla merchandise



This is something a falcon can always spot with its red-rimmed eyes.

It's light like a scrap of cotton, and if it's placed in the corner of a courtyard where a falcon can spot it, it can always pick it up from the house of whoever buys it.

The falcon, our companion, knows about such things from before, from when it lived at home. It knows from seeing them as it goes soaring up and down: Pine Mountain to the East, Diamond Mountain to the North, Oji to the South, Pijon to the West.

Open your eyes, and look! This cotton was your daughter's own flower, out in the cotton field.

Open your eyes, and look! This rice was gathered, was gathered from your son's own seedbed.

Tori! Tori! Tori! You're rotting away to dust, now!

This used to be the song we sang!




High bridge



In the eighth month of the twelfth year of King Silsong,

clouds were seen shrouding the hills;

they seemed inhabited towers,

perfumes surging through every room.


One day he was borne on a bier along mountain paths

but, not forgetting, he returned again

to the village, searched in faces and in people's hearts;

then, it being a beautiful day,

a beautiful day,

he went to dwell in a summer lodge earlier prepared.


Leading some souls of the tinier kind that crawl on the earth

he took a path of mist above the clear hills

and went to dwell in that summer lodge;


he had promised that lodge with his living breath,

the clear breath of his living days;

it was completed in beauty in the spurting flames

of his funeral pyre,

and he went to dwell

in that lodge

that lodge

that lodge


our countrypeople celebrated the event,

hallowing the forest beneath the cloud;

to make it easier to reach and return from that airy lodge

they built a bridge of stones below it.




Hundred-patch: a song



Old Hundred-patch, of Saemal near Mount Nang,

was so poor that his clothes were patched again and again,

they looked like quails tied together with string;

hence people made that name for him.


But that man had a modest lyre

that he had long possessed and played,

and with it he cheered his heart so much

that even Poverty could never outpace him

but followed dancing merrily behind.

Day after day he rose like the sun,

and lived untroubled as a stream.


One year, late on New Year's Eve, his wife

could hear the crunch of millet being pounded fine

in the house next door, and before she knew it

a word slipped past:  'Hulled millet!'

then the lyre rang out, expunged the word,

and ebbed away again like water.




The sun



In the glorious days of great Silla,

when Adalla was king,

the sun came to the loom of Yonorang's wife, Seyonyo,

and stayed dangling there, for she had begun

by fixing her warp-ties to the sky.

Anywhere she and the silk might go, the sun would follow.

The people of Silla all knew this, so when one day

they found she had carried her son on her back

across the sea to Japan,

they pursued her and brought back a ship

loaded with that cloth of silk.




The old man who offered flowers



I'll leave here the cow I'm leading,

and at the crest of the crimson cliff

I'll pick those flowers for you,

if you are not embarrassed by me.


These flirtatious words were once addressed

by an old man of Silla to a certain young woman.


I'll leave here the cow I'm leading,

and at the crest of the crimson cliff

I'll pick those flowers for you,

if you are not embarrassed by me.


A warm sunny day, springtime of course,

beneath the cliff lovely with azaleas stands

that grey-haired old man leading his cow when

suddenly he sees someone's wife passing before him

and addresses these words to her.


Had he quite forgotten his own white beard

and how old he was?


Of course.

All forgotten.


Had he quite forgotten she was someone's wife

and everything else?


Of course.

All forgotten.


He had nothing left at all except a feeling

like that of a flower laughing for joy

at the sight of another flower.



Between the mounted husband and their escort

the wife was likewise riding on horseback.


Oh, look, how lovely, those flowers!

If only someone would bring me some!


She seemed to speak to the flowers,

to the people, and the air as well.


The husband heard the words uttered by his wife

as she swayed along on her horse's back

but foolishly dismissed them,

the servants too just let them glide past,

while one old enough to be her grandfather

heard what she said as he passed, responded

and uttered these words.


I'll leave here the cow I'm leading,

and at the crest of the crimson cliff

I'll pick those flowers for you,

if you are not embarrassed by me.


The flowers grew at the summit of a cliff:

had he forgotten how high it was, even?

Of course.

How indescribably high or low

all forgotten.

All he could see and feel was

how utterly familiar

the air was becoming, in today's terms,

drenching their lips and ears and eyes

drenching their words and speech,

that utterly






Ancient poem   I



If somewhere a sacred rope is hanging from the sky,

if deep in some well a long road stretches far away,

if I can become the east wind, or any wind at all,

I must go, I must, though I may have to clamber or swim.

I must go, I must, through a gap in the door,

a crack in the wall.

But if you have turned to bitter ashes before my eyes,

how shall I return?

If you have turned to water,

how shall I return?




Ancient poem   II



For every chrysanthemum that bloomed then vanished

a chrysanthemum spirit rises and lives;


for every clover-bush that bloomed then vanished

a clover spirit rises and lives;


for every deer that played then vanished

a deer spirit rises and lives;


if you visit that old woman's village beyond the hills,

for every flower she saw that vanished,

a host of the spirits of the flowers she saw;


for all the flower spirits that lived then vanished

more flower spirits' spirits emerge and live;


for all the deer spirits that lived then vanished

more spirits' spirits emerge and live.




In Chinju



Did you ever see a cloud pink as a flower and round

as a bud of crape-myrtle pass unfolding across the sky?


I did, in Chinju, during the Retreat of January '50.


Did you ever see two zelkova trees live together

for five hundred years with never a row?


I did, in Chinju, during the Retreat of January '50.


Did you ever see a kisaeng become a pure river's spirit,

one really alive?


I did, in Chinju, during the Retreat of January '50.


A new bride was dipping her hands in Non-gae's river:

'If you rub your skin with it, every disease is cured.'

The poet Sol Chang-su pointed, and I saw.




Souk Yong-i becomes a butterfly



There is an old tale that tells how, when Souk Yong-i arrived before the tomb of her fiancé, Yang San-i, the tomb split apart and gaped open. A relative standing beside her tried to prevent her from rushing headlong in, by seizing the fringe of her skirt, but it tore off and remained for a moment dangling, then turned into a butterfly.




Today that butterfly is still alive.

The butterfly is still alive, that appeared

when Souk Yong-i and Yang San-i had fixed the day

to unite their lives but Yang San-i left this world before,

then Souk Yong-i went rushing after him.

Above the tomb that gaped at the power of her love,

or hovering beside the one who seized her clothes,

the butterfly that emerged from the torn-off fringe

of Souk Yong-i's skirt is still alive today.







My waiting is over.

The last person I had been expecting

has passed beyond this jujube tree bend;

now there is no one left for me to wait for.


I take early summer, now past, and bright autumn days,

this jujube tree, too,

that was only dream leaves, fruit of life's reward,

and thrust them all into the life to come.

My waiting is over.




A whisper



Those muttered whispers you make, my dear,

are as still as persimmon trees in July,

and yet you know, my dear, I think,

there's really no need to whisper at all.

Even the prettiest child in all your brood

will never be more than the fret she is now,

so why do you bother to whisper like that?




Cute rhymes



Sister, elder sister dear,

speckled smart as sesame cake,

all I've got is new as new,

nothing of mine is faded yet;

so sister, elder sister dear,

sister dark as deepest night,

shall I hug you once again,

with the shadows round your eyes?




A pomegranate opens



When the princess was in her prime,

in youthful ardour I ventured a marriage proposal;

everyone knew, and knows now, too,

what a poor though honest scholar I was. . .

now autumn's come, why is my gate opening?

Will you send one of your many daughters, a mature one,

on a distant wedding journey?

I have only the stepping-stones in the village there,

what shall I ride on to follow her?




Juniper and jasmine



Tree, tree, sweet juniper tree!

Sweet jasmine tree, sweet juniper!

Before the gate where my love must pass,

sweet jasmine tree, sweet juniper!


If you ask me to live by a lowly hedge, a window frame,

wearing a veil too thin to warm a blind fool;

if you ask me to live indoors, windows closed, doors closed,

if you ask me to live indoors, lamps lit, just the two of us,


not a soul aware of love outside or love within,

in your vivid songs of love ten thousand years will pass.

Not a soul aware of love within or love outside,

in your vivid songs of love ten thousand years will pass.


Tree, tree, sweet juniper tree!

Sweet jasmine tree, sweet juniper!

Before the gate where my love must pass,

sweet jasmine tree, sweet juniper!




Uncle Jinyong: a portrait



Uncle Jinyong in our village is handy with a plough,

seems to be ploughing mist, on his way to get wed,

like a pretty maid eating a pear,

like a pretty maid eating a pear.


Beneath his morning-star top-knot pin, has sidewhiskers

bushy as a clover-field, a clover-field,

bushy as the clover-brush his missus holds

as she sweeps their yard, front and back.


Like a field-side shelter over a blustery breeze

once the flowers have bloomed and melon-time comes;

like river-waters where grey mullet leap

when their growth is done and mullet-time comes;


set out beneath the sacred tree lies a checker-board,

old and young all shouting advice;

peeking above their shoulders, the board askew

looks exactly like a coffin-board.




To Autumn




All who are still capable of love.

In every corner of the exiled garden, now is the moment

for doors to open, for green yet fragile doors to open.



All who smoulderingly resist vulgarity. Now is the moment

when you must set out ahead of the skeins of wild geese,

departing with wrinkles of desolate care left intact.

Grieving glorious, solitary brother, now is the time to begin,

brother autumn, you must set out with brow and breast.


In the place where last year our last flower bloomed,

that final chrysanthemum, this year a new one strives to rise,

eager to ease as September chills drive us into October frost.



Clouds set in order.

Clouds set in order after erring and idling,

you can't retain us now with the poppy's bloodstained tales;

now Creation's bright Unfolding must begin again

from the gate at the back,

and each morning raise up frost-buried faces to harden us.



All who are still capable of love.

In every corner of the exiled garden, now is the moment

for doors to open, for green yet fragile doors to open.




When I was five



I first had a taste of solitude when I was five.

For some reason my parents went away for a whole day, leaving me alone at home; for a time I sat on the wooden floor, banging my feet up and down, then I laid my head on the fulling block and slept. When I awoke, the sensation first began to draw me: it seemed I was being swept towards an ocean into which I was unwilling to be plunged. In the ocean, was that a cuckoo?  I had heard the name from my mother but knew nothing of its shape: in, in, in, and its calling increased like the scores of verdant lanterns gleaming in the lotus-lamp night of Buddha's Birth, fanning the feeling in my sinking surroundings and the floor beneath.

I jumped down and went to stand by the little brook that flowed outside the brushwood gate. The nightmare I had just been plunged in, still making a thin keening noise, grew calm as it was mirrored in the smooth water beneath the smartweed; then it joined the cotton clouds floating above and began quietly to draw close against my sides and breast, like the paper jacket my mother used to make and wear the night before each year's first full moon.







Mary, now my love can only become

a hue to colour your bright halo.

Until that day when you first loomed before me,

a torrent piercing the darkness, there had been nothing

but a poor rabble of acrobats prancing on my stage

like a patch of barley, fresh on the feast of Buddha's birth;

blood is more, all was sickening, unbearable waste.


This blood seems about to dance and give off sparks:

it could be distilled into a liquor like the wine we offer

on summer days; or, if that too is not found meet,

might be made into feed, following you, friend, at last. . .

can only become blue and white hues

to colour your bright halo.







Beside the pond was a bench where two might sit,

so I sat down close beside you

but I love you was not once spoken; it remained

like the echoes of a scale rising in a mute's mind,

so that nothing more was possible,

I only ventured gradually up the scale, note by note;

I wonder how far you followed me?

A few moments later, you were no longer there.


After that I took up walking,

first on a path that bypassed that pond,

then on a path that bypassed that path,

then on a path that bypassed that path further off.


But nowadays, setting out on my morning stroll,

as I walk along, I must admit the thought quite often comes

of going once more by way of the pond.







It will work, won't it? A bell! it will, surely?

Hung high up like it used to ring


here at this crossroads

this four-branched crossroads

with the sun setting

as twilight deepens


It will work, won't it? A bell! it will, surely?

If it cracks, why not ring a cracking sound. . .


I can't think how you feel:

all nervous, surely?

Nervous, and then

quite dreadful, surely?


Though it rings a thousand years near your house's gate.

It will work, won't it? A bell! it will, surely?


Even if it makes a foul sound now

having cracked and fallen

after spinning and calling

at the castle walls in its younger days


It will work, won't it? A bell! it will, surely?

It will work, won't it? A bell! it will, surely?







At least one thing's certain, there's something I've lost.

Taking a gourd dipper,

one that's fit for the weakling I am,

I'll try scooping up sea water here.


There's no bolt-hole up in the stars;

if I galloped off on some Australian horse,

there'd be no rending of veils, I know!

Water gathers, rustling and stale

like my faded blood

and maybe now I'm only pretending

to scoop up this sea water.


Is it like what arises when flesh touches flesh?

If your hand is short, then mine should be long,

if my hand is short, then yours should be long,

or was there no contact, despite the efforts we made?

At least one thing's certain, there's something I've lost.







Cheek against cheek, they're just as they are;

west wind, southern breezes, bleak gusts,

the winds, unable to leave them, peevishly pile them up

and cheek against cheek, they're just as they are.


Hills, blue hills, less worn than I, I've been wearing out

since the days of the Three Wise Emperors;

hills less worn, younger than I am, and taller too:


when my life is done and at last I join you,

the winds will embrace us, toss us, toss

until we turn to pebbles of quartz.

Hills, one day you'll turn to pebbles of quartz

adorned with almost invisible patterns of me.


Those pebbles, too, having sat about like coquettes,

will turn into finest finest grains of sand.

And the dust of those grains will become red clay.


Then, hills, then

we'll lie together,

the oldest of all old things,

sustaining the undulating grass of the fields


Cheek against cheek, they're just as they are;

west wind, southern breeze, bleak gusts,

the winds, unable to leave them, peevishly pile them up

and cheek against cheek, they're just as they are.




One afternoon



Half past three p.m.

nobody here to laugh:

in the western sky,

a single cloud

with its belly hanging out!

Just like you in the old days,

sprawled on the warmest spot in the room,

a cloud with its belly hanging out! Hanging out!

Why, it can't come or go or stand up either!

That cloud sprawled flat with its belly hanging out!




November riddle



Do you know the path I follow with pale fretted brow,

the path the wild geese take in late autumn migrations?

A path fit for a ha'penny mandarin, forgotten for a moment

before springtime bushes and at summer's flowery passes:

stretching north again now November shines bright!

November, when my new wild goose path glitters open.

This month in my study a new goose path kindles open.




One late autumn day



Like Spinoza, who in times of hardship would grind the lenses of his glasses,

the heavens had polished the rocky walls along the way that lay before me.

One last day of autumn I paused among the tawny fields of cogon grass, fields worn down by countless passings, where nothing but bare tough stems remained.

First a banquet in buckwheat green, then fragrance, then a pair of hempen sandals for our feet that finally got tossed to the roadside, quite worn out, manifesting nothing more than the last skin and bone days . . .

and this resolve, looking for all the world  like a worn out straw sole.

This resolve! All on account of this resolve, plainly manifesting one last time its inmost cords, the only thing left.




Faint autumn murmurs



The persimmons by the fence are dyed a tart colour,

the cockscomb hollyhock is dyed scarlet, but

this autumn day I wonder: what colour am I dyed?


Last year's dipper lies in the garden like a big  fist,

the new dipper's lying outside like a little fist, but

where should my fist best be laid?




After a fast



Today I have come and taken my place

like one of the sacred bowls disposed

on a mica-bright altar before a tomb.


I have come before the mountain, first

irrigating my heart with the laughing joy

of young crape-myrtle flowers, as with water.


After irrigating my heart, I have become one

of a crop of fresh blossoming nests of flowers,

and now I go, driven towards you in rustling showers.


As I went before, now too I go,

as bright lanterns go

on the nights in May recalling Buddha's birth.


I have come today and taken my place in a village

close to you, like one of the sacred bowls disposed

on a mica-bright altar before a tomb,


and I go, as a wild pheasant goes, to visit your home.

Sending skywards sounds rising from a field of reeds,

I go to make my visit.




An outline history of Korea's stars



Between fifteen hundred and a thousand years ago,

a star came down,

eager to help youths climbing Diamond Mountain

and it would sweep the path before their feet.

But after the teachings of the Sung masters arrived

it returned, took a position higher than a hand could reach

until civilized Japanese arrived and plastered the space

between star and hand full of emptiness.

Single-handed I drew near to it

and by means of the mother-load inside my body

I drew it down into my guts,

where I thought its path was blocked.

This morning at dawn stars were straying there.

After straying for a time, they came down again

and flowed through me; after flowing through me

they went straying up there again.

I shall have to mend my bowels again.




Between two juniper trees



Like the sun dangling between two junipers,

chi  ching  chi  dah  ching

dear heart,

now make a sound of gold or silver.


My bride is no water, no blood, now,

but a hovering mist looming darkly blue,

drawn from a final bed of flowers!


Though I go on and on, every path inclines

to what you may call the Golden Land of the West,

or what name you will, there's no other way.


Dear heart! Dear heart!

Take your parched bride as parched as yourself,

a gaunt and skinny mineral vein, this morning:

chi  ching  chi  dah  ching

make a sound of gold or silver.




A letter



Sunshil! My boyhood friend,

do you remember

those childhood days, like torrents surging

newly emerging tumbling down some mountain gorge,

with a yearning for the soaring swing fastened there?


And Sunshil,

I hope you still preserve our love

still brimming, if only feebly, from those days?



like a flimsy-winged butterfly erring

sometimes I settled on living trees

but mostly perched on dead trees and marshes.



You must be full of wrinkles by now! Tonight

as you sit on a sandy shore twinkling dragonfly-bright eyes

are you radiating desolate green-jade starlight?


I've alighted on almost every tree, alive and dead,

perched on almost every wild field and pit;

now, uniting times of wrinkled love,

as numerous as your wrinkles and mine,

let's meet again as in childhood days

when the daylight Milky Way shone in every budding lotus.

Let's meet again as in childhood days.




A lonely journey



When I stopped beneath the first casement

it was a bed of blood-pearled peonies;


when I arrived at the second casement

it had become, not blood, not blood,

from the surging falling streams

it had become the sea.


Tell me, stars, you stars and sun, you moon and stars,

when the oceans wear out and mount to the sky,

when they wear out like quartz and mount to the sky,

do they turn into sun and moon? Do they turn into stars?


On the paper of the third window was pearling a sound,

a sound of seas wearing out that mount to the sky,

seas wearing out like quartz, a sound trembling with dread.

On the paper of the third window was pearling,

a cloud of steam streaming from a boiling cauldron,

white steam and azure, a cloud of love.


Reluctant to go, rigged out in this flesh,

I travel on and on, the journey's unending,

endless this journey, driven on overwhelmed,


and now my lonely thoughts become a breeze

ready to serve my brothers as a gusting guide,

bringing tidings in due season to flowering boughs,

tidings to past sweethearts' casement-sides,

closing around the months and days, then returning.

Becoming a breeze without eyes, nose or breath,

they come back again as my brothers' guide.




The sea



Giddy they seem, ever bounding, curling, those billows

tartly tart,

unbound locks dishevelled flying, no other skill.


If we go a little deeper, solids are solid. Punishments punish.

Conclusions at last are conclusions, ends end.


Finally haphasardly trampling the meadows, in ranks

like hemp fields

like hemp fields,

with no place to go, wherever they go,

confinement's eternity's homogeneous cube

under heaven's retribution!

All hail, the sea!

All hail, the sea!

All hail, the sea, the sea, the sea!


To what end did you come hurtling down?

To what end did you perch there, watery acrobat child?

To what end did you come cascading down?

Exposed like meat on a butcher's slab,

why did you come hurtling over the brink? Come hurtling?

Perhaps to deck bridal rooms?

Not with blood

but with water, with ever so silently silent water,

the blood's totality's ultimate reason's purification,

perhaps now to deck the bridal rooms in place?


Until you become a billowing cloud, a billowing cloud

by the steam of love rising from a cauldron

where a fowl's being boiled.

Ah sea!




In suburban mud



The colour of this muddy pool is like the colour

of your brow, days you're sick and haven't washed, but

this is a paste of rotting bones, rice flour, discoloured water.

Expert! Expert!

Your muscles have been training for this a whole life long.

Like errands, theft, or begging, too!

Your wits have been busy training for this a whole life long.

Like being a house-maid, or a whore, a whore!

If ever I get involved in things of that kind,

I bring a hidden skill that now comes leaping into view.


Above all, what about sowing seeds, raising pigs,

or fattening girls to marry off?

Or feeding a kid as a foster son?

Right. The plan is to rig him in scholar's garb,

and see him graduate from Seoul University,

making a purist of him;

so no shirking, now!




Ballad of the cuckoo



From the very first day my love for you

was never a heavenly love, I confess.

I stole you for the Heaven I glimpsed

simply, so simply contained within you,

simply held within your flesh;

oh, everyone knows about my theft.

Wife, my wife, my runaway wife,

your present heavenly dwelling

is better than any cuckoo, I know.

Our new-born baby takes more after you

than after me, yes, that's for sure.

So as I sob here, whimpering for grief,

if I crumble whimpering, if I turn to dust

and somehow that dust gets wafted aloft

and clings to your side, for lost love's sake

do not brush it away, but let it be;

for that's how things were in former days

near the upper and lower Eight Mountain Pools.




Song of Karma-destiny



Once I bloomed as a peony flower.

Nearby, in sight of me, there lived a pretty maid.


At last, once day

my petals dropped to the ground; they lay there,

they dried; and so with time they turned to dust,

were united with the clay.

Just then, the little girl died too,

they buried her in the ground nearby.

Soon the rain came pouring down,

swept  away the dust, the ashes of the peony flower;

that water poured into a flowing stream,

and the blood of the maid who now lay in the ground

trickled too into that selfsame stream.


The peony dust floating in the stream

entered the guts of a passing fish

and soon became part of the fish's flesh;

just then the maid's lost blood that had trickled down

was caught in a wave that rippled close by the fish.

The fish leaped for joy, at which the poor thing

was caught and eaten by a water-bird flying just above;

a moment more, and the blood of the maid was drawn up

by the sunbeams' might, went rising into the sky and became

a cloud caressing that bird's feathered wings.


One day a hunter's arrow struck the bird

and down it went, dropping to the ground;

the cloud begged it to stay but that could not be.

The cloud conceived and fell as rain

on the garden of the people who had bought the bird.

That couple ate the bird that night, digested it,

then begot a child, that was born and grew.

Meanwhile the shower had thawed a seed,

a peony seed, buried in the ground;

it sprouted, it grew, and began to flower.

At last in the garden the day has come

for the newly sprung plant to blossom its best.

Look! Flower and maid in sight of each other again!

only today the maid is alive in the flower, while

the former peony is now looking out, a part of me.