Treasure Island

Li Ching Chao

(1084 - 1151)

To Lord Hu


We shall not ask for the precious pearl of the Duke of Sui,
nor for the priceless jade disk of Master Ho.
We merely ask for the recent news of our homeland.
The Palace of Spiritual Illumination must be still there,
surrounded by desolation.
What's happened to the stone statues buried deep in the grass,
still guarding the Imperial tombs?
Is it true that our people left behind in the occupied territories
are still planting mulberry trees and hemp?
Is it true that the rear guard of the Barbarians
only patrols the city walls?

This widow's father and grandfather were born in Shantung.
Although they never held high office, their fame spread far and wide.
I remember when they carried on animated discussions
with other scholars by the city gate.
The listeners were so crowded that their sweat fell like rain.
Their offspring crossed the Yangtze River to the South many years ago.
Drifting in the rapids, they mingled with refugees.

I send blood-stained tears to the mountains and rivers of home,
And sprinkle a cup of earth on East Mountain.
I imagine when Your Lordship, His Majesty's envoy, upholding the Imperial spirit,
passes through our two capitals, K'ai Feng and Lo Yang,
Thousands of people would line the streets and present tea and broth
to welcome you....

Announce that the Emperor's heart aches for the suffering people---
they are his own children.
Let them understand that the Will of Heaven remembers all living beings.
Our sagacious Emperor offers his trust which is as brilliant as the sun.
There is no need to negotiate many times after the long chaos of the years.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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