Phoenix, Qiu Ying, Ming Dynasty

Public Business - Ming Dynasty



‘Recording the wind and rain is indeed public business,’ said Lu Rong of Zhou Chen's weather diary.





Oh how cold

the wind and the rain


Nine dragons descend from a sky

broken like ice, destroy the county seat

shred a pregnant woman – two deaths

They drop a million eggs that crack

open into dragon flies


Oh how cold

the wind and the rain


Jiangnan canals are frozen

Men walking home are murdered

for a pint of rice. Door to door, orphans

beg for gruel. Sly, greasy cooks invite them

in to welcoming kitchens.


Oh how cold

the wind and the rain


The thief remembers a day of snow

The diary testifies bright, steel, and clear

The killers saw locusts block the sun

Zhou's diary proves summer hail

and the wind always blows so cruel


Oh how cold

the wind and the rain


To read Reid Mitchell's 'Chinese, Not Han' in Issue 27 of the Asia Literary Review, take out an eBook or joint Print+eBook subscription. 

Individual issues are also available in print and as an eBook. There's more from Reid Mitchell here.

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