Not Tu Fu, nor the copyist’s brush-stroke soft,
Nor rice wine in jade cups.
Not three tones of ink in vista-far crags:
Distance and the ages composed in inches;
Nor the autumn rains on yards of old silk in museums,
Nor Kuan Yin, mercy goddess in gold,
Nor fat buddhas in gold rows, gold upon cedar,
Nor gongs sombre and brassy . .
These are the husks of China. China in a book.
Not trips sold in job lots to tourists;
Not the hymn sung off-key in the mission,
No junk dragons, junk temple bells, slick brocades,
No hotel flappers, Hollywood stuff, no hop for addicts.
China has moved. Now no longer even
The real paper dragon twisting pantomime
Down the village street under fire-cracker noise
Down the mud street under dry bamboo . . .
Nor the little object, art of real glaze
Best in the world, art of pure porcelain,
The superlative shade of good yellow;
Now none of these.
China has crawled away and left its skin for your museum,
For your elegant little home.
For China the face of Chu Teh rising out of deep Asia,
Chu Teh on a banner, Sun Yat Sen on a banner,
Blowing in a big wind, higher than the Emperor’s falcon flew,
Over a marching horde
Longer than the Wall.
A newsreel, not a painting on silk, a far-away film, come close,
Beautiful and harsh, a flicker on a screen in Manhattan.
Close-up of the face of a slim girl in denim.
She looks direct at you under her short hair.
Her shoes are of straw. Greetings to comrades in Spain.
Then empty land and on the beige plain
Four little mongolian ponies trotting, galloping,
With short legs, very fat in the belly, and four men riding, out-posts,
All going hard over the plain into a big wind.
Disregarded the whining and flirting of fans on the stage
To the tiddle of sticks.
No more for American globe trotters, the loot of bazars.
For those who stay at home and collect fine feelings, no more
Silence and melancholy after we read aloud
The River Merchant’s Wife, purified by restraint of
Re-written by Ezra.
No, now they create, they re-create
China in the tall image, the ancestor on a banner.
No more mandarin papas. The hand with the fine brush
Trembles in the silk sleeve; the telephone rings.
The jade collectors had better go home quick.
The puny children of the consul say goodbye to their good old Amah,
The corrupt legations can put up their shutters now and fade.
A big wind is beginning to blow
In the teeth of the barbarian. All over Asia
People migrate and arm. They laugh direct into the camera.
Tax collectors run by in a litter of leaves.
The spies stay and are shot; one, two, three, they fall
Like fat pigeons. People migrate and arm.
I wouldn’t try to get up the Yangtse, lady.
Wind and poppy fields yellow with a big angry river.
China is a long caravan, longer and stronger than the Wall.
A moving Wall no Emperor made,
A Wall against the barbarian.
The film shows: a little rice, pamphlets, and a clean gun.