“An Old Anecdote” by Isabella Dong



It is an old anecdote
That the kitten and the Lady Cat
Go to the southern hill.
The prevailing song of the sea
Fuses every ephemeral being.

Up the hill there is a tree:
Daylight swims in its vermillion flame—
Other blossoms not yet awoken.
But eucalypti hastily dip
Fresh leaflets
In new green quick

Grails raised high among branches.
Vermillion syrup with crispy light.
In awe the kitten stands below,
And the Lady tells her,
It’s red cotton flower.
Since then I remember this ritual scene:
Crimson grails toasting spring.



The tigress fled at midnight
When the firework for New Year blazed up
Like propellers slash on a shark’s skull.
A shadow fled from this northern land
I dashed myself on the black curtain and tore it apart,
Only saw the tip of her tail and she’s all gone.
I renounced the tigress—
When and where I could not remember.

Crimson grails toasted thrice,
Thrice to the ocean in pathos.
Thrice to the sorrow in northern snow.
Three times three, I see not thee
Although we know that the crimson grails
Prosper each spring on the southern hill.


Oh, I forgot to tell you this old anecdote:
That was a warm spring when I was small
I climbed the southern hill with my mom.
The euphonic sea humming,
Soothed every ephemeral being.
Up the hill there was a tree,
Egrets skimmed its canopy.
All other blossoms not awoken
But eucalypti hastily dip
Fresh leaflets
In new green quick.

A fallen flower amazed me,
In the size of a grail, I touched its petal,
Furry and firm as the tigress’ paw
My mother told me

I stare at the blossoms in awe
For so long, that my eyes
Bear the emblem of the southern hill,
Sparkling amber hues.



Red Cotton Flower with Cat (series) 55*75 cm each, 55*300 cm completed
Woodcut and drawing on paper:
Printing oil, alcohol marker, water colour
Print & drawing: April, 2016 Poem: November 2016


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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