March 29, Reply to a Comrade


Last night we had a talk
in a bus filled with people
on their way home.
I talked about the moon
sailing silently on a cloudless sky
And you talked about the trees
on the plaza we passed by.

It is the same moon
which shone upon Chingkangshan
and the Red base at Yenan
It is the same moon
which brightened up the streets of Peking
on the first October
in nineteen-hundred and forty-nine.

Who knows that today
the same moon showers its glow
upon our comrades in the countryside
lighting their way up dangerous mountain trails.

The trees we saw are much the same
as those that shelter our comrades
from the sun and rain and reconnaissance planes.

Moon and trees
though thousands of miles apart
become allies in the people’s war —
Like Wu Kang, too, who will serve us
his cassia-flower brew.

Many years from now
we shall talk about the moon moving triumphantly
across a red sky;
we shall talk about the trees swaying
amidst red banners on the plaza we shall pass by

We shall talk of things
that will stir our hearts
and widen our visions;
and of men becoming god.
Perhaps still in a bus full of people
happily on their way home
to the communes.

November 1976

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