Sent as a present from Annam—
A red cockatoo.
Colored like the peach-tree blossom,
Speaking with the speech of men.
And they did to it what is always done
To the learned and eloquent.
They took a cage with stout bars
And shut it up inside.
(Translated by Arthur Waley)
Po Chü-I (also known as Bai Juyi, 722-846) was a Chinese poet and government official during the Tang dynasty. He worked within and with the government throughout his life but was also banished many times for his critical tongue. His poems often focus on political and social issues, sometimes employing a touch of humour.
Guest writer, student at Luton Sixth Form College