by Robert A.B. Sawyer
THE THREE GORGES OF THE YANGTZE RIVER
Dynasty after dynasty after dynasty
From Xia and Tang to the Maoist and Yuan
Poets have praised these rocks
And the fierce river that made them.
But poets are indolent and avoid hard work.
To them a river is a metaphor
Wrecked ships and drowned fishermen are metaphors.
The tears of wives and mothers are beautiful.
Their desperate cries make a kind of music
Which in poems is frequently described as beautiful.
But from this point on, there will be no music.
No more metaphors or, for that matter, poets.
Qutang, Wuxia and Xiling will disappear
Behind the monstrous Three Gorges Dam.
And the water, for all its centuries of howling, will be calm.
“No music,” perhaps I’ve overstated my case.
Metaphors, like energy, won’t be destroyed, only transformed.
As for beauty, we shouldn’t be surprised when poets find it
In displaced people, drowned villages, engineered landscapes.
After all, what possible use is there in suffering except
To inspire words so full of feeling that they sing.
One thought on “beatiful lament to the loss of the three gorges of the yangtze”
Delighted to see my poem here, but found it by chance. Thank you for the credit. Please tell me more about your efforts.
I may have something else for you.