a beautiful girl combs her hair

Awake at dawn
she’s dreaming
by cool silk curtains
fragrance of spilling hair
half sandalwood, half aloes
windlass creaking at the well
singing jade
the lotus blossom wakes, refreshed
her mirror
two phoenixes
a pool of autumn light
standing on the ivory bed
loosening her hair
watching the mirror
one long coil, aromatic silk
a cloud down to the floor
drop the jade comb-no sound
delicate fingers
pushing the coils into place
color of raven feathers
shining blue-black stuff
the jeweled comb will hardly hold it
spring wind makes me restless
her slovenly beauty upsets me
eighteen and her hair’s so thick
she wears herself out fixing it!
she’s finished now
the whole arrangement in place
in a cloud-patterned skirt
she walks with even steps
a wild goose on the sand
turns away without a word
where is she off to?
down the steps to break a spray of
cherry blossoms.


Categories: words

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  1. […] although Professor Nourse shares Professor Skillings’ love of Whitman’s poem, her favorite is A Beautiful Girl Combs Her Hair by Li Ho.  Finally, in keeping with the feminine theme, Professor Reid finds Maya Angelou’s […]