The Empress of China – A Poem For The Chinese New Year

In the crimson halls of the Forbidden Palace,
There is a jaded throne, cast by the finest artisans the eternal eastern empire has ever known.
Beside stands a sturdy table, draped gently with luxurious silk,
Strewn with urgent letters, requests and ransoms,
Taxes and treaties, and bills of death,
All marked in ruthless red and black inks,
All poignant symbols of power and authority,
Decision and reason;
All paper-thin, all subject to the might of the first lady’s slender white hand,
A pale white hand which strokes the parchment delicately, 
Like the stream that runs past the sacred buddhist temple,
Or a calming lucid opiate through the peasant’s coursing deep blue veins.

The Empress’ opulent fabrics brings to mind the seductive mystique of the Qutang Gorge,
Figured and carved by the incontestable power of the Yantze River,
Angular like the jagged rock faces, profound like the azure water, 
And ever-engaging like the struggle between reason and rhyme.

Yet, the fragile material body of the Empress is concealed by these luscious garments, 
And, as she ponders and wonders, her serpentine aides shift and move in the shadows,
Scheming and cheating, betraying and defeating one another,
Superseding and falling over each other,
Again, again and again and again,
And again,
Unendingly, incessantly, like the rise and fall of great men, women and ideals and concepts of the legends before.

Meanwhile, dressed as a deity, the Empress of China Blue disparages and describes and designs,
Desiring ever greater destinies for her nation;
Her undying country and her immaculate kingdom.

But, pray, the men of the chamber won’t stand for the rule of a woman,
No, they won’t;
No, they would never deign to allow such an insult to stand for their finite lifetime, let alone the test of time,
Alas, no, they could never swallow their pride or ego,
And it is such that beauty crumbles within the Samsaric cycle of life, death and rebirth.

Rather, the scheming aides would see beauty shattered like abandoned stained glass,
And see the majestic columns of the palace and temples of faith crumbling;
They'd see the annihilation of a fortress besieged,
And they would see that the poor man suffers a token death beneath the oppression of a new, arbitrary regime,
While his wife screams and his children cry,
Wondering why their father had to die,
And bleed a ceaseless stream of ruby blood into the bottomless well, the never-ending cavern of hell.

While the poet dreams, the advisors lie in wait, and the signal is given and they make an ugly haste,
And in the dying embers of the evening the bronze sword gleams,
The bastards unleash the dogs of chaos;
Even the glorious empress herself cannot call on any maxim of Confucius, of Sun Tzu or of Laozi to save herself from the pain of death.

The end is nigh for the Empress of China;
The end is imminent for my Empire, and with it, she will die.

Happy Chinese New Year from the folks at Esse Duo ! 新年快乐 !

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