Alute, Boxers, callisthenics, Cox clock, Dragon Empress, eunuchs, Great Wall, Jade Room, Jezebel, kowtow, Kuang-hsu, Manchu, Niuhuru, Pearl Concubine, Peking, Prince Chuang, Queen Victoria, seagull hovering cicada cling, silken cord, Son of Heaven, suzerain, Tzu 'Hsi
A very old composition found in the cellar!
There was a young woman who lived in a palace.
She had so many eunuchs, she didn’t know what to do;
so she seized all the power and, out of sheer malice,
delivered milk cakes to the hapless Niuhuru.
There never was a girl like Tzu’ Hsi-
prickly as ten porcupines.
She didn’t like being in the second division
of The Son of Heaven’s concubines.
She may have been L’il Orchid when she lived in Pewter Lane,
but she morphed into a tiger lily as The Dragon Suzerain.
If you came into her presence, you kowtowed pretty quick,
or, like Kuang-hsu, you found yourself becoming very sick.
She wasn’t too cognisant of seagull hovering, cicada’s cling,
but she made the dragon turn in the city of Peking.
She slept on petalled pillows, lulled by ticking Cox’s clocks,
pretending to be venerable and fairly orthodox.
But when they all struck ding dong bell,
she had Pearl Concubine chucked down the well.
Oh, what a naughty girl was that,
to drown the Emperor’s pussy cat!
As for her widowed daughter-in-law, she didn’t care a hoot
and didn’t bat an eyelid at the suicide of Alute.
(Severin.stalder own image Great Wall at Jinshanling- 8/6/2013)
She hurried to her Manchu homeland in the shade of The Great Wall
while the mutinous brigades she’d fostered went on to have a ball.
Originally they’d practised callisthenics in ill-disciplined cohorts,
but she didn’t want her eunuchs dressing up in Boxer shorts.
Not one to have a lily liver- nor yet a lily foot-
she blithely sent Prince Chuang the silken cord to use as he felt suit.
Out-living Queen Victoria delighted her no end.
To British ministers’ wives she was an enemy turned friend.
But before she died of dysentry, she stage-managed one thing more:
she’d see the wretched Kuang-hsu out-he’d go the day before.
Lest anyone should be confused as to their relative worthiness,
she determined his comparative funeral expense was more than two thirds less.
Inviolate for two decades, she lay in the lavish tomb,
but bandits don’t respect the ancient codes of The Jade Room;
they did not fear ancestral shades; showed little veneration
to one who’d been a Jezebel to a different generation.
They stripped her of her grave clothes and threw her in the dust,
which, in the light of history, appears to us quite just.