Zhang Lifan’s ‘Two Stanzas on the Prosperous Age’
Gaudy and extravagant, a glittering appearance,
A splendid banquet keeps Chinese and barbarian taste buds busy.
Grass-like commoners exert themselves, their blood and toil,
Becoming the detritus that forms a palace ditch.
When will we stop seeing clones everywhere?
The same tired martial arts routines lack artistry*.
With half a basinful of West Lake’s feet-washing water,
Official Zhang, his talent spent, arrives in Hangzhou.
* wu yimou — a play on Zhang Yimou’s name. ‘Feet-washing water’ refers to the outdoor concert stage on which the performances took place. To create an impression of performers dancing and walking on water, the stage, completed in 2007, was built three centimetres below the water surface.