Friday, December 28, 2018

Duane Vorhees writes

   --after Yun Dongju

On the day the flag of five colors dances with the flag of the rising sun*
on the tops of the two chummy stone pillars at the front gate,
the children of the border amuse themselves.

Dry dull lessons daily
By year-end boredom settles in
and their minds so simplified 
they can't distinguish spear from shield.#

On days like these
I want to tell my stubborn older brother 
that we lost. 

* The flags of Manchukuo and Japan
# The Chinese ideograms for spear and shield are used as a compound to convey contradiction or paradox.  A weaponer bragged that his swords would pierce any shield and his shields would deflect any sword; a prospective buyer asked him, "What would happen if I used your sword against your shield?"

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