Thursday, December 02, 2010

A Report


The Hmong kingdom
like a phoenix
the Five Lakes.

I arrive on my cloud-and-wind steed
at the Hmong city
with nine towers
and nine gates,
each guarded
by nine sentries
in full battle armour
and horned helmets.

I am led to the great hall
where king Chiyou
sits on his golden throne.
With his long-horned helmet,
his towering height
his booming voice,
he is sometimes mistaken
for a Minotaur.

“Who are you,
Shaman Traveler?
How and where
have you come--
you with the familiar face
in foreign raiment?”

“Your Majesty, I and my eight spirit
guides were borne here
by a spirit wind
from beyond South of the Clouds,
beyond the unknown lands,
beyond the ocean of time.
We arrive through travails,
through trails of tears,
through trials of blood,
along tracks of armies,
along footprints of frightened refugees.

Crossing the Red River,
nine tigers rose out of the ashes
of bomb craters to confront us--
we slew them with our swords.

Crossing the Yellow River,
nine dragons rose from the dust
of a rusty battlefield to devour us--
we pierced them with our spears.

I arrive bearing news
of the Hmong:
You have prepared us well
for the thousand-year battle ahead--
we survive!
Though we were
we didn't die;
we fought
and fled to regroup
to fight again.
We don’t die;
we transform
into spreading colors:
white black
red blue

We are spreading
onto forests of bamboo,
mountains of teaks,
plains of elephant grass;
And further,
across oceans
into lands of snowy mountains,
burning deserts,
fertile valley basins,
bountiful fruit farms,
giant cities with a thousand towers
reaching for the sky.

I report to Your Majesty that,
like dyes spreading
across raw cloth,
like ink touching water,
we are spreading
across contours
of new landscapes.
Our raiment have changed
colors to blend
into the different lands,
but we are still
your sons
and daughters."

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