Sunday Poem

Border Song

I water my horse
Crossing an autumn river.
The water is cold,
The wind like a knife.

Away across level sands
The sun is still sinking.
Off in the darkness—
The beginning of the Great Wall.

A former days' battles
By the Great Wall,
Everyone says
Will and spirit ran high.

But yellow earth
Is all that remains,
Then or now.
White bones lie scattered
In the weeds.

by Wang Chang-Lin
Tang Dynasty, about 750 A.D.
from The Heart of Chinese Poetry
editor: Greg Whincup;
Anchor Books, 1987