The Asians Dying

William Gibson quotes a very beautiful poem in his blog today. It's by a poet I have to confess I haven't heard of. His name is W.S. Mervin, and the poem, which appears to be about the Vietnam War, is called The Asians Dying.


When the forests have been destroyed their darkness remains
The ash the great walker follows the possessors
Nothing they will come to is real
Not for long
Over the watercourses
Like ducks in the time of ducks
The ghosts of the villages trail in the sky
Making a new twilight

Rain falls into the open eyes of the dead
Again again with its pointless sound
When the moon finds them they are the color of everything

The nights disappear like bruises but nothing is healed
The dead go away like bruises
The blood vanishes into the poisoned farmlands
Pain the horizon
Overhead the seasons rock
They are paper bells
Calling to nothing living

The possessors move everywhere under Death their star
Like columns of smoke they advance into the shadows
Like thin flames with no light
They with no past
And fire their only future


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