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This poem is taken from PN Review 127, Volume 25 Number 5, May - June 1999.

Four Poems Les Murray

At the Swamping of Categories
with thanks and acknowledgements to Iris Chang

When the flag of the pool of blood
came up the Yangtze Valley
its soldiers were licensed to flow
into a great space of cruelty.
They filled canals with working men;

they transmitted their own DNA
then slaughtered the women who got it;
they widened the littlest girls
and halved them after with swords.
When the flag of the clot of blood

came up the Yangtze Valley
it flew above a tsunami
God waited for inertia or humans
to arrest, as with a wave of ocean.

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