William Plomer

Thoughts on the Japanese Invasion of China (1938)

Taut paper and clean wood enclose
A neat, sweet domestic place
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, zestful plan?

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.




















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