Thoughts on the Japanese Invasion of China (1938)
Taut paper and clean wood enclose
A neat, sweet
Where slant sun and magic snows
Alter the shadow
on a well-loved face.
Warm wine in a little cup,
A red leaf fell,
a white sleeve fluttered,
Morning smoke was wafted up,
More, more was
felt than uttered.
Why, then why the rape of a child,
The lidless eyes,
the screaming man,
The ricefield village all defiled
To a cold, elaborate,
Because shy fingers end in claws,
Behind soft lips
are teeth that bite,
And a vast uneasy longing roars
Up like a bomber
through the night.
From the gods was stolen the seed of fire,
The Dragon flew in the face of the Sun—
One god is Hope, a hardened liar,
Another is Love, the unconquered one.
For notes about ‘Thoughts’
see the Bibliography BJ9a;
for an overview of Plomer’s relation with Japan see William
Plomer and Japan; for notes about Plomer titles in print and buying
information see Earthquake.