Friday, July 14, 2006

Reply to a Comrade

Reply to a Comrade

Last night we had a talk,
in a bus filled with people
on their way home.
I talked about the moon
sailing silently on a cloudless sky.
And you talked about the trees
on the plaza we passed by.

It is the same moon
which shone upon Chingkanshan
and the Red base at Yenan.
It is the same moon
which brightened up the streets of Peking
on the first day of October
in nineteen-hundred and forty nine.

Who knows that today
the same moon showers its glow
upon our comrades in the countryside
lighting their way up dangerous mountain trails.

The trees we saw are much the same
as those that shelter our comrades
from the sun and rain and reconnaissance planes.

Moon and trees
though thousands of miles apart
become our allies in the people's war ---
Like Wu Kang, too, who will serve us
his cassia-flower brew.

Many years from now
we shall talk about the moon moving triumphantly
across a red sky;
we shall talk about the trees swaying
amidst red banners on the plaza we shall pass by.

We shall talk of things
that will stir our hearts
and widen our visions;
and of man becoming god.
Perhaps still in a bus full of people
happily on their way home
to the communes.

November, 1976

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