The Dragon Of The Black Pool
By Bai Juyi
Translated by Launcelot Alfred Cranmer-Byng
Deep the waters of the Black Pool, colored like ink;
They say a Holy Dragon lives there, whom men have never seen.
Beside the Pool they have built a shrine; the authorities
have established a ritual;
A dragon by itself remains a dragon, but men can make it a god.
Prosperity and disaster, rain and drought, plagues and pestilences-
By the village people were all regarded as the Sacred Dragon-s doing.
They all made offerings of sucking-pig and poured libations of wine;
The morning prayers and evening gifts depended on a medium's advice.
When the dragon comes, ah!
The wind stirs and sighs
Paper money thrown, ah!
Silk umbrellas waved.
When the dragon goes, ah!
The wind also-still.
Incense-fire dies, ah!
The cups and vessels are cold.
Meats lie stacked on the rocks of the Pool-s shore;
Wine flows on the grass in front of the shrine.
I do not know, of all those offerings, how much the Dragon eats;
But the mice of the woods and the foxes of the hills are continually drunk and sated.
Why are the foxes so lucky?
What have the sucking-pigs done,
That year by year they should be killed, merely to glut the foxes?
That the foxes are robbing the Sacred Dragon and eating His sucking-pig,
Beneath the nine-fold depths of His pool, does He know or not?
I had a long-overdue dermatologist appointment on Tuesday, so I spent the morning doing chores, had lunch with Paul, and went out to a building that still requires masks to enter and surgical masks to see the PPE-clad doctors -- I'm not complaining, this is comforting. There was a medical student she asked permission to allow to observe, so I got mostly naked in front of multiple strangers, but she didn't find anything suspicious that needed to be removed, so it was all good.
It finally stopped raining in the afternoon so that we could take a walk -- there were slugs everywhere instead of cicadas, for a change -- and we ate leftovers before I watched Voyager's still-delightful "Deadlock" with my usual group. Afterward, we watched Raya and the Last Dragon on Disney+ and I loved it in pretty much every way -- the settings, the almost entirely female lead characters, the lesbians, the big-picture idealism. We have had some very fancy birds out back this week: