◎ Guo Moruo
Rambling through a pine forest early in the morning, I came across a bunch of forsaken roses lying by the shady wayside. They were still fresh in colour. One was purplish-red, another pink, still another a sickly ivory-yellow slightly tinged with blood-red.
I picked them up in my hand.
The numerous fine dewdrops on the fresh green leaves clearly showed that the roses had just been cast away the previous night.
Were they pitiful maidens deflowered by fickle men? Or were they unlucky young men fooled by frivolous women?
Last night’s whispers of love; this morning’s drops of cold dew…
I brought the roses home and tried to find a flower vase to keep them in.
Flower vase I had none, but I did find in a nook of my room an empty earthern wine bottle with its neck broken.
— O dear roses, though unable to treat you to spring wine, I could offer you limpid spring water and my sincere pure heart. Wouldn’t it be better for you to wither away in solitude in this broken earthen wine bottle than to lie abandoned by the roadside and be trodden down upon?