GH (5 3 38 / leipzig)

Connoisseurs Of Ancient Beauty

The rarest and most valuable kind
of Chinese porcelain is known as Ju,
a word which those who truly are refined,
might care to know should be pronounced as Rue.

Glazed always with a lustrous green-tinged shade
of blue it sparkles faintly, rose embossed,
a color made from agate, not from jade––
forgotten the technique for this, quite lost.

More special is Ju ware to Chinese than
were cats in ancient Egypt; it is fairer
than odalisques who used to lie on a divan
in sultans’ harems, and it is far rarer.

The Chinese watch the vases as if they
were models on a runway, connoisseurs
of ancient beauty from a bygone day,
and everyone who is not praying purrs.

12/28/06,5/4/07

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