After five days in Yangshuo
it is the death of Rabin
that moves me to tears,
Israeli music
the background
to a last morning
gazing at jagged peaks
and Chinese pagodas
jealously guarding the horizon.

It is not the children,
too young learning
hello, give me money
nor old woman
carrying her heavy fruit basket night by night
hello, banana
neither young women who went to village schools
now staring at me from rice paddies
as I cycle by
no light in their eyes
rather
a frightening hardness.

It is hard to be happy
in a land trampled by darkness,
money its God
denying mute testimony
of majestic peaks
and the cormorants
underwater flight.

I cry for home,
for China,
for me;
but breakfast
will still
be consumed.

 

6 November 1995