neighbors gave word…

In recent years, in rebellion’s hardships,
My entire clan fled southward:
Each day we went ten or twenty miles,
Then halted from love of your mountain village.
Peak and valley gaped in light shining,
And no house lacked it’s private spring;
Everywhere tall bamboo lined the road,
And tiny boats were at every gate.
Jang Creek’s shores twist in the middle,
In its sunny side are peaceful gardens.
In those days our neighbors gave word to us:
“We accept you and your offspring.”
Whenever necessities were wanting,
Our neighbors willingly shared with us;
Whenever we were distressed,
Our neighbors then took care of us.
People like these now grow ever poorer,
Have not missed the injustice of forced labor.
I end with this plea for Jang Creek-
Let the world not speak of it.

Yüan Chieh, To my Neighbors at Jang Creek, written in 763 C.E., From: The Great Age of Chinese Poetry: The High Tang by: Stephen Owen, Yale University Press, 1981


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