FROM THE CITY-TOWER OF LIUZHOU
TO MY FOUR FELLOW-OFFICIALS AT ZHANG,
DING, FENG, AND LIAN DISTRICTS
At this lofty tower where the town ends, wilderness begins;
And our longing has as far to go as the ocean or the sky....
Hibiscus-flowers by the moat heave in a sudden wind,
And vines along the wall are whipped with slanting rain.
Nothing to see for three hundred miles but a blur of woods and mountain --
And the river's nine loops, twisting in our bowels....
This is where they have sent us, this land of tattooed people --
And not even letters, to keep us in touch with home.