Water Dragon Chant
They seem to be but are not flowers;
None pity them when they fall down in showers.
Forsaking leafy home,
By the roadside they roam.
I think they’re fickle, but they’ve sorrow deep.
Their grief-o’erladen bowels tender
Like willow branches slender;
Their leaves like wistful eyes near shut with sleep,
About to open, yet soon closed again.
They dream of drifting with the wind for long,
Long miles to find their men,
But are aroused by orioles’ song.
Grieve not for willow catkins flown away,
But that in western garden fallen petals red
Can’t be restored. When dawns the day
And rain is o’er, we cannot find their traces
But in a pond with duckweeds overspread.
Of spring’s three Graces,
Two have gone with the roadside dust
And one with waves. But if you just
Take a close look, then you will never
Find willow down but tears of those who part,
Which drop by drop
Fall without stop.
The poet personifies and compares the willow down to a deserted woman.
The Song Dynasty writer Su Shi wrote the lyrics of “Water Dragon Chant” (水龙吟 – 次韵章質夫杨花詞). The first section is about the erratic encounters and the unpredictable attitude of the willow flowers; the second section echoes the first section, mainly about the return of the willow, with stronger emotional color. The second section echoes the first section, mainly about the return of the willow wisps, which is more emotionally charged. The whole lyric not only describes the shape and spirit of the willow flowers, but also adopts the artistic technique of anthropomorphism, skillfully combining the chanting of objects and the writing of people, blending the nature of objects and human feelings without any trace, truly “using the objects to imply the nature of feelings”, writing with harmonious rhymes and sorrowful and lingering moods, reflecting the ebullient side of Su’s lyrics.