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478. Almost every week for twenty years, she has been brought to the Palace To perform alone an artistic dance for a bigwig she has never seen. Now, on her last morning, she finishes her show and waits. But once more she is dismissed without a word from behind the screen.

479. The lady can probably see him through a fissure in the panelled screen From behind which the visiting Abbot listens to her cultured, delicate voice – But he himself has not the slightest idea of her appearance – Except for that single queer glimpse, years ago, of something almost obscene.

480. On Visiting My Aunt, the retired Imperial Concubine, Swaying Blossom, At her charming Hillside Retreat, near the Pearl Breath of Spring Lake, To congratulate her on reaching her 98th Birthday, and (alas!) finding her absent. Oh, for God’s sake! Flames, flames, flames, flames, flames! Must I, so to speak, spell everything out?

481. A Political Prophecy ‘A skeletal man lies at the side-entrance to a monastery, With insufficient energy left to shout for help. Had not a little charmer happened to slip through that door the next morning, He might well have starved to death. Which, in fact, he does anyway.’

482. The beggar, having persevered through three wide provinces, Is now standing, with increasing mystification, In a small, walled sunlit garden, seemingly devoid of doors. Dreaming? Naked? Dead? What? Or merely fading away?


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