Poetry / December 2013 (Issue 22)

Limahong: Epic

by Xiao Pinpin

Towards the shoal: deep sepulchre.

Understand this, the primordial law: The sky must append the sea, always exact as the migration of white egrets. How can distance be measured? Through the whispers of seasons? Bruised by fog, the mind raptures narrow channels. Along these lines, blood becomes brine. Blood is brine.

Here, the plain surface of the sea is the center. The waves flow with the breath and form ripples with tears. The cliffs in their solitude await the heron’s return to the rest.

But where is your origin? The edge of the sea, ostracized by rivers. When I was young, I stole a chicken from our neighbour because I needed feathers for the sojourn. Her scream drowned in slaughtered chickens.

Once, there was a village, and the ephebe within me. I was a rickshaw lad, carrier of buddhas. Then the Tao came to me or was I the one who came?

In the monsoon summer, I dreamt of swimming in the public bath though it was tainted by urine. But I awoke in sweat, smelling my aroma becoming strange.

Near the harbour the decaying fish were swept away and lead me to towering Junks. Before I knew speech, I was pensive as sages and scholars of the age. Even then, I would speak their language to be the scholar of ships.

The great decay of flowers tends to be pensive. The fall of flowers is enough to be spoken about in passing. One misses how one can dip one’s hand on the shrub of flowers. It blooms on the arm and spreads on the lap, sometimes blooms too much. Nectar overflows the winebowl.

In clumps like seaweed, they drifted.

Dragons and gods have boats and so do colonies. The windswept howling in the eclipse beckons. The messages of lighthouse come out from the parting ocean. Moths come as plagues. The compass has arrived just in time and the sublimated reflection of the self appears.

I am the thrall of the sea--to be the vanquisher of islands. Let me tell you I do not belong here. I do not belong to throne I wish to conquer.
Website © Cha: An Asian Literary Journal 2007-2018
ISSN 1999-5032
All poems, stories and other contributions copyright to their respective authors unless otherwise noted.