Mount Liupan – Mao Zedong

The sky is high, the clouds are pale, 

We watch the wild geese vanish southward. 

If we fail to reach the Great Wall we are not men 

We who have already measured twenty thousand li 

High on the crest of Mount Liupan 

Red banners wave freely in the west wind. 

Today we hold the long cord in our hands, 

When shall we bind fast the Grey Dragon?

New Year’s Day – Mao Zedong

Ninghua, Chingliu, Kueihua 

What narrow paths, deep woods and slippery moss! 

Whither are we bound today? 

Straight to the foot of Wuyi Mountain. 

To the mountain, the foot of the mountain, 

Red flags stream in the wind in a blaze of glory.

Snow – Mao Zedong

North country scene: 

A hundred leagues locked in ice, 

A thousand leagues of whirling snow. 

Both sides of the Great Wall 

One single white immensity. 

The Yellow River’s swift current 

Is stilled from end to end. 

The mountains dance like silver snakes 

And the highlands* charge like wax-hued elephants, 

Vying with heaven in stature. 

On a fine day, the land, 

Clad in white, adorned in red, 

Grows more enchanting. 
This land so rich in beauty 

Has made countless heroes bow in homage. 

But alas! Chin Shih-huang and Han Wu-ti 

Were lacking in literary grace, 

And Tang Tai-tsung and Sung Tai-tsu 

Had little poetry in their souls; 

And Genghis Khan, 

Proud Son of Heaven for a day, 

Knew only shooting eagles, bow outstretched 

All are past and gone! 

For truly great men 

Look to this age alone.

Reascending Chingkangshan – Mao Zedong

I have long aspired to reach for the clouds 

And I again ascend Chingkangshan. 

Coming from afar to view our old haunt, I find new scenes replacing the old. 

Everywhere orioles sing, swallows dart, 

Streams babble 

And the road mounts skyward. 

Once Huangyangchieh is passed 

No other perilous place calls for a glance. 

Wind and thunder are stirring, 

Flags and banners are flying 

Wherever men live. 

Thirty-eight years are fled 

With a mere snap of the fingers. 

We can clasp the moon in the Ninth Heaven 

And seize turtles deep down in the Five Seas: 

We’ll return amid triumphant song and laughter. 

Nothing is hard in this world 

If you dare to scale the heights.

Tapoti – Mao Zedong

Red, orange, yellow, green, 

blue, violet, indigo: 

Who is dancing with these 

rainbow colours in the sky? 

Air after rain, slanting sun: 

mountains and passes turning blue 

in each changing moment. 

Fierce battles that year: 

bullet holes in village walls. 

These mountains so decorated, 

look even more beautiful today.

Swimming – Mao Zedong

I have just drunk the waters of Changsha 

And come to eat the fish of Wuchang. 

Now I am swimming across the great Yangtze, 

Looking afar to the open sky of Chu. 

Let the wind blow and waves beat, 

Better far than idly strolling in a courtyard. 

Today I am at ease. 

‘It was by a stream that the Master said 

‘Thus do things flow away!’ ‘ 

Sails move with the wind. 

Tortoise and Snake are still. 

Great plans are afoot: 

A bridge will fly to span the north and south, 

Turning a deep chasm into a thoroughfare; 

Walls of stone will stand upstream to the west 

To hold back Wushan’s clouds and rain 

Till a smooth lake rises in the narrow gorges. 

The mountain goddess if she is still there 

Will marvel at a world so changed.

The Double Ninth – Mao Zedong

Man ages all too easily, not Nature: 

Year by year the Double Ninth returns. 

On this Double Ninth, 

The yellow blooms on the battlefield smell sweeter. 
Each year the autumn wind blows fierce, 

Unlike spring’s splendour, 

Yet surpassing spring’s splendour, 

See the endless expanse of frosty sky and water.

The Warlords Clash – Mao Zedong

Sudden veer of wind and rain 

Showering misery through the land, 

The warlords are clashing anew 

Yet another Golden Millet Dream. 

Red banners leap over the Ting River 

Straight to Lungyen and Shanghang. 

We have reclaimed part of the golden bowl 

And land is being shared out with a will.

Yellow Crane Tower – Mao Zedong

Wide, wide flow the nine streams through the land, 

Dark, dark threads the line from south to north. 

Blurred in the thick haze of the misty rain 

Tortoise and Snake hold the great river locked. 
The yellow crane is gone, who knows whither? 

Only this tower remains a haunt for visitors. 

I pledge my wine to the surging torrent, 

The tide of my heart swells with the waves.

Poem – Two Birds: A Dialogue – Mao Zedong 

The roc wings fanwise,

 Soaring ninety thousand li 

And rousing a raging cyclone. 

The blue sky on his back, he looks down 

To survey Man’s world with its towns and cities. 

Gunfire licks the heavens, 

Shells pit the earth. 

A sparrow in his bush is scared stiff.. 

‘This is one hell of a mess! 

O I want to flit and fly away.’ 

‘Where, may I ask?’ 

The sparrow replies, 

‘To a jewelled palace in elfland’s hills. 

Don’t you know a triple pact was signed 

Under the bright autumn moon two years ago? 

There’ll be plenty to eat, 

Potatoes piping hot, 

Beef-filled goulash.’ 

‘Stop your windy nonsense! 

Look, the world is being turned upside down.’

Poem – Winter Clouds – Mao Zedong

Winter clouds snow-laden, cotton fluff flying, 

None or few the unfallen flowers. 

Chill waves sweep through steep skies, 

Yet earth’s gentle breath grows warm. 

Only heroes can quell tigers and leopards 

And wild bears never daunt the brave. 

Plum blossoms welcome the whirling snow; 

Small wonder flies freeze and perish.