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from North Hills


attrib. by Pound (after Fenollosa) in Cathay to a 4th century BC ‘Kutsugen’;
actually anon.;
quite a way after
Shih Ching II. 1. (167) (poems therein variously 11th-7th century BC)




Shu’s bowmen


                   gather bracken

                   when it’s ready

                   O to return

                   (year’s waning)

                   no house, no home,

                   it's those damned Huns

                   no rest nohow

                   it’s those damned Huns


                   gather bracken

                   when it’s tender

                   O to return

                   (hearts and minds sad)

                   – minds, hearts, broken

                   going hungry

                   war’s not over,

                   there’s no home leave


                   gather bracken

                   when it’s sturdy

                   O to return

                   (year’s ending)


                   no rest, nohow

                   (hearts and minds ill)

                   there’s no return


                   what can that be?

                   flowering cherry!

                   what goes so far?

                   high-up’s staff-car!

                   such horsepower –

                   an armoured car…

                   now they tell us:

                   VICTORY’S CERTAIN!


                   what horsepower!

                   roaring roaring…

                   the General,

                   he’s done for us…

                   winged-horse’d bonnet,

                   soft leather trim…

                   Daily Alert:

                   Here Come The Hun!


when we set out

                   willows blossomed

                   now we go back

                   willows weeping…

                   Slog to the Lo

                   - hungry going -

                   hearts, minds wounded

                   – back home don’t know.



i.m. Guy Davenport