Flood, or: Brown death

My 1st lushi

Reinterpreting ‘Flood’ by T’ao Chien

Brown clouded sky, broiling, broiling.
Hot gusting sands, hurling, hurling.
Khamsin consuming in all directions.
Parching dust storm, whirling, whirling.
Raising waterskin to broken lips.
Death's eastern wind, unfurl, unfurling.
Desolately-I recall kind warnings.
Ignored their advice-sterling, sterling.


by T’ao Chien

The lingering clouds, rolling, rolling,
And the settled rain, dripping, dripping,
In the Eight Directions—the same dusk.
The level lands—one great river.
Wine I have, wine I have:
Idly I drink at the eastern window.
Longingly—I think of my friends,
 But neither boat nor carriage comes.

d’Verse poetics:

China – Kingdom of the Poem

The latest d’Verse poetics prompt was to select one of five classical Chinese poems and reinterpret it. Poets were instructed to either: 1) reinterpret a poem of their choice in their own styles, or 2) do a reinterpretation in the classic Chinese lushi style. I opted for lushi.

I selected the poem ‘Flood’ by T’ao Chien, a Chinese poet who is one of the best known poets of the Six Dynasties period.

41 thoughts on “Flood, or: Brown death”

  1. David,
    Oh this most unfortunate persona to pass up such sterling advice! Clever use of the lushi form and, yeah, I was feeling that hot, dry khamsin wind by the end of the poem. Off to get a tall icy-cold glass of something.

    1. I’ve never been in the middle of the desert during a khamsin, Dora, but even when I’m in the middle of Jerusalem, and the entire city is hot and brown, it’s pretty horrible 🤢


    1. It did take me a bit of thought to figure out what direction I wanted to take with this one, Lauren… and I don’t gravitate to this sort of poetry at all… but I suppose that’s what makes it a productive exercise 🙂


  2. So interesting how you’ve changed this from a flood of water to a deadly flood of sand. And well done for capturing the lushi style!

  3. I enjoy your unique style of repeating the verb David and how imaginative to reinterpret flood as the dust storm which covers everything. The parched traveller must be seeing floods of water as mirage
    (Khamsin – my husband used to talk to me of this)

    1. Laura,

      In Hebrew, it’s referred to as a ‘sharav’, but Israelis refer to it as a ‘khamsin’ (Arabic) just as often (and I think many of them don’t realize that it’s an Arabic word).


  4. Excellent! This is a really hard form and you managed like a master. I have never tried this one as I was intimidated by all the rules… at least there is no required internal rhyme so maybe I’ll give it a try sometime!

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