Su Shi Poem: Silk-washing Stream – 苏轼《浣溪沙·咏橘》


Silk-washing Stream
Su Shi
Chrysanthemums are darkened and lotus flowers lost.
The wood is brightened by leaves green and buds new,
The thatched cot and fence would grow yellow and blue.
Her mouth half open, she smells the fragrance sweet;
She’s timid to drink the fountain her teeth meet.
Her hand still fragrant stays for three long days.

The poet describes the orangery in the first stanza and a young maiden eating an orange in the second. The fountain refers to the orange juice.


“Silk-washing Stream” is a song written by Su Shi, a writer of the Northern Song Dynasty. The author uses the subject matter of singing oranges to express his fresh and noble temperament. In the first piece, he writes about the chrysanthemum and the lotus that cannot withstand the frost, and the cold-resistant character of the orange tree and its prosperous growth in front of and behind the house. In the next piece, the tasting of the new oranges and the fragrance of the fruits are described, with the word “”frightened”” and the word “timid” being used very cleverly and precisely to convey the attitude of the tasters. The final line even exaggerates and highlights the fragrance of the orange fruit with the phrase ” three days hand still smells good”. The entire lyric is meticulously depicted, with both form and spirit, and full of aftertaste.

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