2010 Poetry Challenge

National Poetry Month

Peter Willowdown

Jade Man

Jade Man of centuries,
protector of ancient mysteries.
Once ten thousand other warriors
stood guard with you
but now they half all been looted
and dishonourably imprisoned
in imperial and barbarian museums,
stripped of their purpose,
gawked at by millions
without comprehension.
One day, when your present duties are over,
you will avenge them!

Jade Man of antiquity,
even the ancient dragons of land and air
do not come to visit you in your secret lair
where you and you alone protect the last secret
of the Cloud Burst Emperor and his Chrysanthemum Lady.
Ah, Jade Man, do you never wonder
in the cold and timeless shallows of the night
whether the skilled craftsman that made you
made you a fitting consort too
and, if so, in what tomb she is immured,
waiting like you, for the ineffable dawn
when your supreme sacrifice is rewarded
and, looking down from his Celestial Palace
the Cloud Burst Immortal remembers you at last
and frees you from your long jade geas?

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