The Chinaman nodded, satisfied, and sat back. The moon was full up by now, three-quarters full, and bright enough to show the little Mandarin’s face as he talked.
“Yes,” he said, through Jamie, “I thought much of women; their grace and beauty, blooming like lotus flowers, floating like milkweed on the wind. And the myriad sounds of them, sometimes like the chatter of ricebirds, or the song of nightingales; sometimes the cawing of crows,” he added with a smile that creased his eyes to slits and brought his hearers to laughter, “but even then I loved them.
“I wrote all my poems to Woman — sometimes they were addressed to one lady or another, but most often to Woman alone. To the taste of breasts like apricots, the warm scent of a woman’s navel when she wakens in the winter, the warmth or a mound that fills your hand like a peach, split with ripeness.”
Fergus, scandalized, put his hands over Marsali’s ears, but the rest of his hearers were most receptive.
“No wonder the wee fellow was an esteemed poet,” Raeburn said with approval. “It’s verra heathen, but I like it!”
“Worth a red knob on your hat, anyday,” Maitland agreed.
“Almost worth learning a bit of Chinee for,” the master’s mate chimed in, eyeing Mr. Willoughby with fresh interest. “Does he have a lot of those poems?”
Diana Gabaldon, Voyager (Chapter 46)