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This poem is taken from PN Review 155, Volume 30 Number 3, January - February 2004.

Two Poems Sinéad Morrisey

The Yellow Emperor's Classic

after Gong Sun

The body is China.
Middle kingdom between here
and hereafter, it is compromised from the start.
Messengers are important.

China has been an imperial system
for centuries, and repeats itself endlessly.
The heart is its emperor.
All other organs are the emperor's courtiers -

see poor pericardium
go slack with deflected shame.
A king may never be blamed directly, so
heart-sac swallows heart-blows uncomplainingly.

We are constantly at the mercy
of pernicious influences: cold, damp, dry, wind,
...


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