Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE RED HILLS, by PAO CHAO



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THE RED HILLS, by            
First Line: Red hills lie athwart us as a menace in the west
Last Line: Can he hope that his soldiers will give what is hardest to give?
Alternate Author Name(s): Ming-yuan; Bao Zhao
Subject(s): China - Middle Ages (600 B.c.- 618 A.d.); Soldiers


RED hills lie athwart us as a menace in the west,
And fiery mountains glare terrible in the south.
The body burns, the head aches and throbs:
If a bird light here, its soul forthwith departs.
Warm springs
Pour from cloudy pools
And hot smoke issues between the rocks.
The sun and moon are perpetually obscured:
The rain and dew never stay dry.
There are red serpents a hundred feet long,
And black snakes ten girths round.
The sand-spitters shoot their poison at the sunbeams:
The flying insects are ill with the shifting glare.
The hungry monkeys dare not come down to eat:
The morning birds dare not set out to fly.
At the Ching river many die of poison:
Crossing the Lu one is lucky if one is only ill.
Our living feet walk on dead ground:
Our high wills surmount the snares of Fate.
The Spear-boat General got but little honour:
The Wave-subduer met with scant reward.
If our Prince still grudges the things that are easy to give,
Can he hope that his soldiers will give what is hardest to give?





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