We set out on our horses, and the small birds of dawn were with us.
We return to the tethering-lines with the magpies at evening.
For a hundred, hundred years, working skins, cutting wood, forging swords,
Humans will forge history after the candle goes out and blazes forth.

The river waters flow cloudy, and then clear again.
The firewood is doused, and flares again, upon the river bank.
The rocks of the world wear away, year by year, as they move and settle.
The ways of people are buried in the dust of a regular day.

We set out on our horses in the victory of morning.
We return to the tethering-lines in the weariness of evening.
For a thousand, thousand years, sharpening swords, digging graves, lighting candles,
We will set out on our horses to learn, when morning comes.

Some of us will build a town.  Others, angry, will burn it down.
The two will set their generals to fight each other.  Later only stories will remain.
The way of the world is like this, like a sword it is forged,
Forgotten like a draught to settle a full stomach.
18 November 2008
First New Moon of spring in the Year of the Rat

translated by Simon Wickhamsmith