Presented To Liu Ching-wen

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Lotus with their umbrellas folded

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Presented To Liu Ching-wen
        Su Shi 1036-1101

Lotuses have withered
        they put no umbrellas to the rain;
one branceh of chrysanthemeum 
        holds out against the frost.
Good sights of all the year 
        I'd have you remember,
but especially now
        with citrons yellow 
                and tangerines still green

Zèng Liu Jǐngwén
Sū Shì 1036-1101

Hé jìn yǐ wú qíng yǔ gài,
Jú cán yóu yǒu ào shuāng zhī.
Yi nián hǎo jǐng jūn xū jì,
Zhèngshì chénghuángjúlǜ.
Translator: Burton Watson 華茲生

Written in 1090 when Su was govenor of Hangzhou. Liu Jingwen 1033-1092 was an official friend of Su there. Surely it is an example of Su's optomistic approach to life; even as the lotus and chrysanthemum are dying the oranges and tangerines are glowing brightly!

This poem became so popular that even to this day the expression 橙黃橘綠, is synonmous with autumn.

See alternate translation by Dongbo.

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