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Homechinese poemsPomegranate Flowers by Zhou Lingshun~周领顺《石榴花》 with English Translations

Pomegranate Flowers by Zhou Lingshun~周领顺《石榴花》 with English Translations

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Pomegranate Flowers

The world is a blazing brilliance of colors, a dazzling flourish of flowers vying for charm. While renowned flowers win sycophantic admiration, wild ones simply grow humbly unnoticed. Pomegranate flowers, neither a prized species anymore, nor a wild type, evoked in me an unexpected sentiment of emotion after I, quite by accident, caught sight of a pomegranate tree glowing red with flowers. Ever since my childhood, I have had different encounters with pomegranate flowers, and perhaps because they are much too ordinary I should have failed to be touched, not even once, by their charm. It is not until recently that I began to generate an affectionate fondness towards them.
Early June of this year saw in Yangzhou an unusually cool temperature, giving one the illusion of a returning early spring. While I was walking to campus, the one-hour trip, which was definitely a good exercise, also brought closer contact with grass or trees adjacent to the roadside. As I was doing so, thoughts tended to arise involuntarily as well. I casually picked up a dry tree branch and walked it along as if I were maneuvering a tractor, its chugging tune that I once imitated as a child reverberating in my ears once more. With a tree leaf placed between the lips, I was still able to whistle it, in an awkward fashion, evidencing my remaining competence in this childhood game with tree leaves.
Every time I went along the same route, I could always glimpse a distance away from the roadside a particular tree, which seemed to be bearing reddish fruits. Two days ago, I passed by it again, doubts in mind. Was it a loquat bearing astringent fruits? Were the fruits so common that people had their nose turned up at them? Or, was it because people were better-nurtured now so that they pampered the free growth of the fruits? Whatever the reason, I would not care. Childhood experiences of stealing fruits in the tree were prompting me to have one more try. What a rustic delight in doing that!
To have a taste of the fruits, I changed my usual route, which only involved a little extra distance to cover. However, I approached only to see a pomegranate tree bearing red flowers, which let me down a little bit. Being small, the flowers were indistinguishable in the distance. No wonder. How could a fruit-bearing tree have kept away the “early birds”?
As the old Chinese saying goes, “Since I am here, let me stay and enjoy it”. I started to observe the flowers intently. Some flowers, in their full blossoms, were silky “pomegranate skirts” as it were, going tight and slender in the waist. And the “slender waists” were normally accompanied to the side by a couple of flower buds, which looked just like “red hawthorn fruits” embellishing the hairstyle of a little girl. Why, are you shy little girls, blooming flowers? You were hiding your pretty faces among rustling leaves, but you were not able to conceal all the “pomegranate red” bursting for this “pomegranate month” (an elegant name in the ancient times for the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar). Then in a blinking moment, it was as if the flower buds turned into the pegs of urheens, the “pomegranate skirts” into the suona trumpets, and even the yellow stamens or pistils into the indistinct decorations of some hidden horns. With all these “musical instruments” in the tree, what a loud celebration it was for the arrival of the spring!
My passion for pomegranate flowers can well be described as true and genuine. Aware as other people are of their beauty, they tend to turn a blind eye to it, probably because pomegranate flowers are not so scented, or because pomegranate trees are fruit producers and can only prove their principal value when fruits are born. No matter whether for the scent or for the fruit, basically it is utilitarianism that cloaks people’s appreciative eye for the beauty of the flowers.
Pomegranate flowers, though not smelling sweet, are special in their beauty. As they never please people by scent, they do not incur picking. They are “beauties”, and are able to grow elegantly and leisurely, free from “the jealousy of gods”.
Pomegranate flowers, you adorable little spirits, it’s me who knows you well!

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