Poems by Mao Zedong

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Published Date:04-07-2017
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Mao Zedong Changsha To the tune of Chin Yuan Chun (1925) Alone I stand in the autumn cold On the tip of Orange Island, The Hsiang flowing northward; I see a thousand hills crimsoned through By their serried woods deep-dyed, And a hundred barges vying Over crystal blue waters. Eagles cleave the air, Fish glide in the limpid deep; Under freezing skies a million creatures contend in freedom. Brooding over this immensity, I ask, on this boundless land Who rules over man's destiny? I was here with a throng of companions, Vivid yet those crowded months and years. Young we were, schoolmates, At life's full flowering; Filled with student enthusiasm Boldly we cast all restraints aside. Pointing to our mountains and rivers, Setting people afire with our words, We counted the mighty no more than muck. Remember still How, venturing midstream, we struck the waters And waves stayed the speeding boats? 7 • Poems Yellow Crane Tower To the tune of Pu Sa Man - Spring 1927 Wide, wide flow the nine streams through the land, Dark, dark threads the line from south to north. Blurred in the thick haze of the misty rain Tortoise and Snake hold the great river locked. The yellow crane is gone, who knows whither? Only this tower remains a haunt for visitors. I pledge my wine to the surging torrent, The tide of my heart swells with the waves. • 8 Mao Zedong Chingkanshan To the tune of Hsi Chiang Yueh - Autumn 1928 Below the hills fly our flags and banners, Above the hilltops sound our bugles and drums. The foe encircles us thousands strong, Steadfastly we stand our ground. Already our defence is iron-clad, Now our wills unite like a fortress. From Huang yang chieh roars the thunder of guns, Word comes the enemy has fled into the night. 9 • Poems The Warlords Clash To the tune of Ching Ping Yueh - Autumn 1929 Sudden veer of wind and rain Showering misery through the land, The warlords are clashing anew Yet another Golden Millet Dream. Red banners leap over the Ting River Straight to Lungyen and Shanghang. We have reclaimed part of the golden bowl And land is being shared out with a will. • 10 Mao Zedong The Double Ninth To the tune of Tsai Sang Tzu - October 1929 Man ages all too easily, not Nature: Year by year the Double Ninth returns. On this Double Ninth, The yellow blooms on the battlefield smell sweeter. Each year the autumn wind blows fierce, Unlike spring's splendour, Yet surpassing spring's splendour, See the endless expanse of frosty sky and water. 11 • Poems New Year's Day To the tune of Ju Meng Ling - January 1930 Ninghua, Chingliu, Kueihua What narrow paths, deep woods and slippery moss Whither are we bound today? Straight to the foot of Wuyi Mountain. To the mountain, the foot of the mountain, Red flags stream in the wind in a blaze of glory. • 12 Mao Zedong On The Kuangchang Road To the tune of Chien Tzu Mu Lan Hua - February 1930 The whole wide world is white, Through the snow eagerly we press on. Crags loom above our heads, We cross the great pass, red flags waving in the wind. Where are we bound? To the snow-swept River Kan. Yesterday the order was given, One hundred thousand workers and peasants march on Kian. 13 • Poems March From Tingchow To Changsha To the tune of Tieh Lien Hua - July 1930 In June Heaven's armies chastise the corrupt and evil, Seeking to bind rock and whale with a league-long cord. Red glows the far side of the Kan, Thanks to our wing under Huang Kung-lueh. A million workers and peasants rise up, Sweeping Kiangsi straight towards Hunan and Hupeh. To the Internationale's stirring strains A wild whirlwind swoops from the sky. • 14 Mao Zedong Against The First "Encirclement" Campaign To the tune of Yu Chia Ao - Spring 1931 Forests blaze red beneath the frosty sky, The wrath of Heaven's armies soars to the clouds. Mist veils Lungkang, its thousand peaks blurred. All cry out in unison: Our van has taken Chang Hui-tsan The enemy returns to Kiangsi two hundred thousand strong, Fumes billowing in the wind in mid-sky. Workers and peasants are wakened in their millions To fight as one man, Under the riot of red flags round the foot of Puchou Author's Note : The story of Kungkung butting against Mount Puchou : The chapter "On Astronomy" in Huai Nan Tzu says: "In ancient times Kungkung and Chuanhsu fought each other for the throne. In a fit of rage Kungkung butted against Mount Puchou, breaking the pillars of heaven and snapping the ties of the earth. Then the sky shifted towards the northwest, tilting the sun, moon and stars; the earth sank in the southeast so that dust and water gathered there." "The Chronicle of Chou" in Kuo Yu says: "In ancient times Kungkung, departing from the right way, gave himself up to pleasure and unbridled licence. He tried to stem the hundred streams, destroy hills and silt up low places, and thus brought disasters to the whole earth. Heaven did not give its blessing, nor the people their help. Calamities and troubles broke out and Kungkung perished." The ancient commentator Wei Chao quotes from the Palace Officer Chia, i.e.., Chia Kuei of the Later Han Dynasty: "Kungkung was a lord of the Chiang clan, a descendant of the Fiery Emperor. When Emperor Chuanhsu's power was on the decline, Kungkung attacked other vassal lords and fought Kaohsin for the throne." In "The Annals of the Three Emperors", Szuma Chen's addenda to Szuma Chien's Historical Records, it is said: "Towards the end of her Nuwa's reign, a lord named Kungkung became powerful through his resourcefulness and the severe discipline he enforced. He did not rule like a king but like an autocrat. Representing the element of water, he wanted to succeed Nuwa who represented the element of wood. He 15 • Poems fought Chuyung and was defeated. In a fit of rage he knocked his head against Mount Puchou, so that the pillars of heaven were broken and the ties of the earth torn." These are the different versions of the legend. I prefer the version in Huai Nan Tzu, which presents Kungkung as a victorious hero. Please note: "In a fit of rage Kungkung butted against Mount Puchou, breaking the pillars of heaven and snapping the ties of the earth. Then the sky shifted towards the northwest, tilting the sun, moon and stars; the earth sank in the southeast so that dust and water gathered there." Did Kungkung perish in the attempt ? Huai Nan Tzu is silent on this question. We may take it that he did not, but came out victorious. • 16 Mao Zedong Against The Second "Encirclement" Campaign To the tune of Yu Chia Ao - Summer 1931 The very clouds foam atop White Cloud Mountain, At its base the roar of battle quickens. Withered trees and rotten stumps join in the fray. A forest of rifles presses, As the Flying General descends from the skies. In fifteen days we have marched seven hundred li Crossing misty Kan waters and green Fukiyen hills, Rolling back the enemy as we would a mat. A voice is heard wailing; His "Bastion at every step" avails him nought 17 • Poems Tapoti Summer 1933 Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, indigo: Who is dancing with these rainbow colours in the sky? Air after rain, slanting sun: mountains and passes turning blue in each changing moment. Fierce battles that year: bullet holes in village walls. These mountains so decorated, look even more beautiful today. • 18 Mao Zedong Huichang To the tune of Ching Ping Yueh - Summer 1934 Soon dawn will break in the east. Do not say "You start too early"; Crossing these blue hills adds nothing to one's years, The landscape here is beyond compare. Straight from the walls of Huichang lofty peaks, Range after range, extend to the eastern seas. Our soldiers point southward to Guangdong Looming lusher and greener in the distance. 19 • Poems Loushan Pass To the tune of Yi Chin O - February 1935 Fierce the west wind, Wild geese cry under the frosty morning moon. Under the frosty morning moon Horses' hooves clattering, Bugles sobbing low. Idle boast the strong pass is a wall of iron, With firm strides we are crossing its summit. We are crossing its summit, The rolling hills sea-blue, The dying sun blood-red. • 20 Mao Zedong Three Short Poems To the tune of Shih Liu Tzu Ling – 1934-1935 I Mountains I whip my swift horse, glued to my saddle. I turn my head startled, The sky is three foot three above me II Mountains Like great waves surging in a crashing sea, Like a thousand stallions In full gallop in the heat of battle. III Mountains Piercing the blue of heaven, your barbs unblunted The skies would fall But for your strength supporting. Author's Note: A folk song runs : Skull Mountain up above, Treasure Mountain down below, The sky is only three foot three away. Bend your head if you go by foot, Dismount if you go by horse. 21 • Poems The Long March A lu shih - October 1935 The Red Army fears not the trials of the March, Holding light ten thousand crags and torrents. The Five Ridges wind like gentle ripples And the majestic Wumeng roll by, globules of clay. Warm the steep cliffs lapped by the waters of Golden Sand, Cold the iron chains spanning the Tatu River. Minshan's thousand li of snow joyously crossed, The three Armies march on, each face glowing. • 22 Mao Zedong Kunlun To the tune of Nien Nu Chiao - October 1935 Far above the earth, into the blue, You, wild Kunlun, have seen All that was fairest in the world of men. Your three million white jade dragons in flight Freeze the sky with piercing cold. In summer days your melting torrents Flood the streams and rivers, Turning men into fish and turtles. Who has passed judgement on the good and ill You have wrought these thousand autumns? To Kunlun now I say, Neither all your height Nor all your snow is needed. Could I but draw my sword o'ertopping heaven, I'd cleave you in three: One piece for Europe, One for America, One to keep in the East. Peace would then reign over the world, The same warmth and cold throughout the globe. Author's Note: An ancient poet said: "While the three million white jade dragons were fighting, the air was filled with their tattered scales flying." Thus he described the flying snow. I have borrowed the image to describe the snow-covered mountains. In summer, when one climbs to the top of Minshan, one looks out on a host of mountains, all white, undulating as in a dance. Among the local people a legend was current to the effect that all these mountains were afire until the Monkey King borrowed a palm leaf fan and quenched the flames, so that the mountains turned white. 23 • Poems Mount Liupan To the tune of Ching Ping Yueh - October 1935 The sky is high, the clouds are pale, We watch the wild geese vanish southward. If we fail to reach the Great Wall we are not men We who have already measured twenty thousand li High on the crest of Mount Liupan Red banners wave freely in the west wind. Today we hold the long cord in our hands, When shall we bind fast the Grey Dragon? • 24 Mao Zedong Snow To the tune of Chin Yuan Chun - February 1936 North country scene: A hundred leagues locked in ice, A thousand leagues of whirling snow. Both sides of the Great Wall One single white immensity. The Yellow River's swift current Is stilled from end to end. The mountains dance like silver snakes And the highlands charge like wax-hued elephants, Vying with heaven in stature. On a fine day, the land, Clad in white, adorned in red, Grows more enchanting. This land so rich in beauty Has made countless heroes bow in homage. But alas Chin Shih-Huang and Han Wu-Ti Were lacking in literary grace; And Tang Tai-Tsung and Sung Tai-Tsu Had little poetry in their souls; And Genghis Khan, Proud Son of Heaven for a day, Knew only shooting eagles, bow outstretched. All are past and gone For truly great men, Look to this age alone. Author's Note: The highlands are those of Shensi and Shansi. 25 •

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