Monday, March 29, 2010

A Chinese Rice Farmer

This poem, an assignment for English class, imitates the style of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. It is a character sketch of a Chinese rice farmer accompanying the characters of Canterbury Tales on a pilgrimage to Canterbury.

On this pilgrimage there also traveled,
A woman who rarely ever babbled,
Or tried to make herself stand out,
For her occupation was without a doubt,
Most difficult. As a farmer of rice,
Her skin was tanned and rough but smooth and nice.
Her modest temper and her sweet nature,
Reflected village values and pleasures.
Throughout the day her shoulders were bent,
But after plowing, back home she went,
To husband and daughter, father and mother,
To smother each, one after another.
Though covered with mud when coming home,
She was soon dressed like a princess from Rome.
With jewelry and hair so neatly placed,
She would come to dinner, eager for a taste,
Of the meal that her daughter had prepared,
During the day for her family to share.
Her hair was like silk, her eyes were like jewels,
But she had never gone to a local school.
From a young age, she had worked in the field,
Although city life had also appealed.
It took hours by bus to reach the next town,
And first she had to climb from the hills, down
To the winding road far below;
She would travel the distance even so.
She came from a village as high as can be,
Near the mountain top in the province called Guangxi.
Her life was simple yet full of delights,
But she hardly ever spoke to the Knight.



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