Sunday, October 21, 2012

Letters and Other Prayers IX

The Central Kingdoms


I see the golden dragon rising from

The mists of time, from those ancient shadows

When giants roamed the planet and the

people scattered from Babel settled there.


They made their home in a magic land

A land fed and made lush by golden rivers,

A land made safe by deserts and mountains,

A land made just by Xuanyuan’s governance.


Then do the strange and beautiful characters

Appear to bear witness to the generations that

Were born since, to the teachings of Master Kong,

To the states that were to unite all under heaven.


Qin Shi Huang’s ruthless hand was to bond

Them in a lasting marriage, lasting romance,

And ageless dance, where art and learning

Flourished, and like the sun, illuminated its orbit.


Some poor visitors from the West came to see

The civilization that could any barbarian sword

Eat, and seeing the wonders they beheld

Brought report of flying gold and shining silks.


They were stupefied to sing of the teachings

Of the Socrates of the East, of the porcelain

They touched, of the millions souls to win for

Christ – and the empire the mandarins cared for not.


This the princelings of Europe did not understand,

Who flung wide fleets and treasure to land

First flags, then men with arms to enslave

And claim empire over seas – but the Chinese had it.


So mysterious it yet remains, this nation

So great and powerful, that alone thought

Us beautiful, and so acknowledged the marriage

And destiny that old and new would bind.


It still stands as the empire of Polo’s lore,

Though laid low and desecrated by the proud

And ruthless nations, envious of the prestige no coin

Can buy, the immortality by hand divine given.


Like Our Lady’s nation, broken up it once again

Joined in a crazy, modern movement to a

Strange and alien music – but both the eagle and

Dragon will rise, to rule the peoples in wisdom’s glory.


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