Boat - Poem by Kong Yin
A long time ago,
you entrusted me with a boat
instructing me to load it with precious treasure
before reuniting with you
at the source of the river.
Then I watched you vanish
where water joined sky.
I began to trade my youth
little by little, for diamonds
I could consign to bulky sacks
and year after year pile upon the deck.
Sail raised, departure moments away,
I had three roles to play, despite my age:
helmsman, sailor, tug-boat.
Hauling my freight of treasures
through the torrents and rapids
I trudged upstream on the bank.
The boat tipped and rattled
beset by waves and storms.
Through dim-sighted eyes
when weather permitted
I steered and paddled
dragging on the cord sunk in my flesh
on hands and knees
too busy to notice
the gorgeous scenery fleeting by like a dream.
Jagged boulders, pounding clouds,
terrifying waves slashing the bank
on which I slaved.
Just as the source of the river came in sight,
my bleeding cord snapped apart.
I watched in despair
the dragon-like eddies
sucking my boat into a bottomless pit.
Worn out, beaten up,
I wailed my grief:
“How could you drown my treasures?
How can I meet you, empty-handed? ”
On a quiet raft
you floated down the river
singing loudly on the green ripples.
“Ah, my child! I’ve been waiting a long time.
Why are you so late?
On the River of Light
I asked you to bring love over,
Why do you bring
useless diamonds instead? ”
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