“The Song of Green Snake” by Isabella Dong


I seek you everywhere
On the land once torn by war,
The city overwhelmed
By the flood you summoned
People’s grief cried aloud
When you threatened
The wicked, bald hypocrite
To let go of your husband.

On the Broken Bridge
You and I tempted fate.
I sneaked into town by moonlight,
Consumed by agony.
The over-brimming water on West Lake
Brings endless misery to me.

I now see the mausoleum
Adumbrated by heavy cloud,
The sinews on my heart tremble
No more oaths unfulfilled.
I coil and hide in a willow,
Green on the tree and green on me,
Blurred and waves resemble.

* * *

The silver mist fondles our emerald chamber,
Dew-drops gleam on the frost-white reeds.
Orchids as curtain, ivy behind,
Our dreamland stirred by a slanting breeze.
A pearl of thunder awakens me:
I open my eyes and I see thee,
Creamy glow on all your scales,
Exuberant, sweet and full of grace.

The air stirs, our forked tongues
Sense the subtle scent of spring
When stretched out to savour a kiss.
Sense spiced up and two hearts flip,
You yield to me your willowy waist,
I grip you firmly; my tongue leads,
To lap your perspiration aromatic.
In excitement I gently lick
Your tender petals, white peony
Set loose with dew to relish
My tongue and I savour and sip.

Is any paradise better than this?
Thousand years there we hide,
Thousand cuddles in wintry dream.
In spring and summer we indulge
In playful caress and loving grip.
But this time you gaze in misty green–
Is any paradise better than this? “Yes,
A paradise in human world,
With a huge lake of many myths,”
And with romance you might think.

Is Hangzhou better than Paradise?
No, just fools stinking of mortality
Stained by dullness and hypocrisy,
Like the one lying in front of me.
After I know his cowardice,
His heart as base as a rat’s,
What else can I think of him
But a morsel for hell to eat?

I never want you to be trapped
In a mundane snare, in mortal flame;
I did hope it to be a game
But you take it seriously,
This man your love
And his child your duty.

Deceivers will be deceivers ever
The imbecile should betray you twice,
His fragile will and little mind
Sharpened by fear to be a knife
How in burning shame I shiver
I was the blinded matchmaker.

* * *

Cast our women flesh,
Descend the riverbank,
Beaming white and glistening green
White as jasmine, lotus sheen.
Candles light up Buddha’s face,
Endless flame, a sea of woes.

Is there a Buddha judging us?
Can he quench our mutual love?
The human’s courtyard may be deep,
But never as deep as the dweller’s heart.

Cast our maiden shape,
Ascend the bamboo hill
Your eyes witness the Milky Way,
In love we hiss and gently embrace.
Human morality a disposable thing,
Wanes and decays with authority.

My jade-green shadow wriggles,
Your lily-white halo floats.
Countless cosmos with countless Buddhas,
I care not, only to love you as you are.

[Editor’s note: This poem was part of an assignment for the course Genremorphosis: Texts and Their Afterlives in Other Forms.]


isabellaJia Dong, Isabella is a final-year student majoring in English Language and Literature at Hong Kong Baptist University. [Read all entries by Isabella here.]

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