Uncle Richard's Blue Willow China
for Katherine Lee Tostenson
The little girl who once asked, who are those people on your blue plates.
The legend I tell you is centuries old.
Of the Mandarin, rich in lands and gold.
Of Li-chi fair and Chang the good.
Who loved each other as lovers should.
I tell you of how they hid, in the gardenerís hut awhile.
Then they fled away to the beautiful isle;
Though her cruel Father persued them there and wanted to kill the hapless pair.
But a kindly power, by pity stirred
Changed them each into a beautiful bird.
And on each plate if you look you will see the Mandarin's house, the island home,
The boat, the bridge, the gate, and there youíll see the orange tree were they talked- here
They are running away, and on the top of plate you see the beautiful birds flying away.
These odd little figures seem to live every time the china blue plate is laid.
So I hope youíll dream of a land all blue and white, and watch the lovers take their flight,
Over the arching bridge they go, as one of the birds flies far above.