Willow Pattern poem

'Two birds flying high,

A Chinese vessel, sailing by.

A bridge with three men, sometimes four,

A willow tree, hanging o'er.

A Chinese temple, there it stands,

Built upon the river sands.

An apple tree, with apples on,

A crooked fence to end my song.'

The poem tells of Knoon-shee, a lovely Chinese maiden, whose affections were bestowed upon her father's secretary, Chang, but who was commanded by her parents to wed a wealthy rival suitor. She refused to comply with their wishes, whereupon her enraged father locked her up in the little house just visible on the left of the temple. From here she contrived to send a message to her lover, 'Gather thy blossom, ere it be stolen.' Thus encouraged, Chang succeeded in entering the apple orchard and carrying off his beloved.So we see them hurrying over the bridge. Knoon-shee with a distaff, and Chang carrying her box of jewels, pursued by the angry father brandishing a whip. The lovers made good their escape in the 'little ship sailing by' and landed on the island, which can be seen on the left of the picture, where they took refuge in the little wooden house. But the father and discarded suitor tracked them and set fire to the house while they were sleeping and so the lovers perished. Next morning their spirits rose, Phoenix-like, in the form of two doves and we see them, with out-stretched wings, flying off to the realms of eternal happiness.

Of course no one knows if this story is true as it is over 2000 years old.

I don't own one piece of Willow pattern china but I have fond memories of my Nana reciting a version of the little Willow poem when I was young. Today I received this card in the post and it brought lovely memories of Nana flooding back. The card came from an 85 year old Yorkshire Rose friend of mine who had recently needed a little help with the felting of her 'Opera Bag' which I was more than pleased to help her with. She is a dear friend who reminds me of my little English Nana on many occasions. I'll let you into a little secret, this particular friend when turning 80 told me she had something to show me, she pulled her blouse open and showed me a little white rose for Yorkshire tattoo on her shoulder she had just had done because she said she was too old to go Bungee jumping!


Anonymous said...

Well, good for her. I've considered getting a tattoo. Maybe I will when I am 80! LOL

Levin said...

emily did a study of the willow pattern in primary school - it's such a lovely piece. I've always been drawn to blue and white china - probably my dutch heritage.
wow - a tattoo at 80. I'm too scared to get tattooed - but I'd be even more scared to bungee jump!!!!
hope you are well

Anonymous said...

I can remember being very, very keen on having a tattoo many years ago - when I was young.
With three friends I had gathered up my courage and was approaching a tattoo parlour/tent (at a country exhibition) when ... out of the parlour/tent came a strapping six foot plus fellow.
With tears streaming down his face!

I made a quick left-hand turn. (In fact we all changed direction.)
I have never gathered up my courage again - so congrats to your friend!

janeyknitting AT yahoo DOT ca