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Crab Poems
from Dream of the Red Mansion

1 June 2012

Dream of the Red Mansion is one of the four greatest Chinese novels, that narrates how a grand household with a large population and a high GDP figure decayed and collapsed.

During its heyday, a splendid banquet was held at a luxury and spacious pavilion built on a lily pool, with steamed crabs as the main course and a writers' festival as the core activity, organized by the poets club with members mainly from the literature-loving teenagers within the family. Inspired by the rich tip-of-the-tongue experience, three principle characters in the novel composed three poems about crabs.

Note: The excerpt of the poems in Chinese as shown below may not be entirely faithful to the original text in the masterpiece, and we apologize for our bad memories if there are any discrepancies ;)


In your greed you forget how hard it is to digest,
You indulge in the source of sour and pungent.
You shower it on your prey,
From which you chew the meat away.

You never progress straight ahead,
But block other people's way like a crab.
With no heart nor spine,
You celebrate cannibalism with a cup of wine.


Inside your sharp pincers, packed meat is so smooth,
Purer than white jewels.
Under your thick shell, treasured substance,
Piled together in abundance.

How awesome it is with eight legs,
You crawl faster than anyone else.
But in your long spears and iron armour,
You meet your fate sent by your karma.


The path stretches before your very eyes,
But you can't tell between straight and crosswise.
Under your strong and illustrious mask,
You are actually empty inside with no heart.

To purge your toxic smell,
We'll use chrysanthemums' spell;
To prevent your chill effect,
We'll get ginger for help.

When you preyed on others this spring,
Did you ever imagine what autumn might bring?
Soon your presence can no longer be found,
Only the moonlight illuminates the land around.

In the season of harvest,
We'll gather to toast.
Along the Long Peace Avenue,
Celebration will renew.



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