The Yellow Bowl

WHEN first the Manchu came to power,
A potter made this yellow bowl,
With quiet curve and border scroll,
And here inlaid the imperial flower.
The peace of art was in his soul.
Had not the Manchu come to power?

Upon the flaky yellow base
That now is dull and now is bright,
A flowering branch, a bird alight,
Expressed his thought in formal grace.
Had not disorder taken flight
And left for art a quiet place?

And then, the artist sense alight,
He drew upon the yellow bowl
The symbol of the restless soul, —
A butterfly, in poised flight.
For though the Manchu was in power,
The soul must wake when strikes the hour.