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(Wikimedia Commons.  Chen Xianzhang Plum Blossom; Hunan Provincial Museum)



Crimson plum blossom

often shelters bush-warblers,

as the poets claim.

But The Ninefold Enclosure

never attracts birds –

and I have listened for years.

How inauspicious!

Yet, in many peasants’ yards,

they trill (but not overnight.)

The Insect-Eater’s

a lowly designation

for a divine bird.

Though diminishing in tone,

its call deserves more respect.