Rambling on the Sedges

Wu, Wen-ying

    Her moist jade skin is covered with light chiffon; a pink cherry 1 is hidden behind a fan; her embroidered necklace still smells lightly of cosmetics. The heart of the pomegranate folds red dancing skirts in vain. The moxa wreath 2 should expel the chaos of her sorrowful hair bun.

    At noon she dreams that she crosses a thousand mountains to visit her love. The time, like an arrow, flies past her window. The fragrant marks on her wrist left by red threads have just faded 3. She and her love are separated by the Yangtze River. The wind and grass leaves sound of autumn sorrow during this rainy night.

1 "Pink cherry" refers to a beauty's painted mouth.

2 During the Duan-wu Festival, the fifth day of the fifth month in the Chinese calendar, people glued moxa leaves into the shape of a tiger and wore the moxa-tiger on their head as a wreath. It was said that the moxa-tiger could expel evil spirits.

3 In olden times, during the Duan-wu Festival a woman would tie her arm with colorful threads to expel evil spirits. The threads were called the threads of longevity or the threads of chastity.