Poetry / July 2011 (Issue 14)

When Confucius Executed Shao Zhengmao

by Vera Schwarcz

Order returned to government,
they say: for three whole months
meat vendors stopped raising their prices,
women stayed on their side of the street
and no one picked up a stray kerchief
lost in the marketplace.
Three months later? The sages
silent. Heads keep rolling in China,
and not just in the orient alone.
Wherever chaos threatens
the disorderly, women have to step
aside, fear of coveting lost trinkets
serves well those who want to eat
cheap meat.
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