Book Review for Women Writers of Traditional China:

Subterranean Blue Poetry

Volume V Issue VII

“Spring Thoughts (Two Poems)

by Zhang Yaotiao


Out in the dooryard: plum trees,

  willows, bright,

    too bright, with spring.

Closed up in the depths

  of the women’s rooms,

    I stitch

      a dancer’s dress.

This pair of swallows – unaware

  how my heart, my belly,

    twist -

On purpose, on

  purpose, fly right up close -

    beaks filled with clay

      for their nest.


This phoenix tree beside the well:

  I moved it here myself.

During the night, flowers

  opened, up

    on the farthest


If I hadn’t planted it

  deep in the compound,

    near the women’s rooms,

Spring would pass

  the household gate

    and I -

      how would I know?”

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Subterranean Blue Poetry

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