Leaving Oz, on the Silk Road, destination Ningxia, Guyuan County, Northwestern China.
Traveling by horse. It is autumn and a cavalryman pauses in crossing the Yellow River to allow his horse to drink. The sun has not yet set. The water is cold, the wind cuts like a sword. The horseman remembers another battle long ago beneath the Great Wall in Lingtao. The battle cries were spirited. His thoughts return to the present. The yellow earth stretches out before him. He thinks that the the yellow earth is nothing more than the blanched bones of soldiers who fell in other battles, now mixed in with the bitter sage.
A poem by Wang Changling, usually translated as Beneath the Fortress Wall. The destination of the rider is not given, but one can suppose he was headed north and crossing the Yellow River. Lintao, which is identified by Wang Changling, is far to the west, near the Tibetan Plateau.
|塞下曲||A Song at the Pass|
|Drink, my horse, it is autumn and we cross the river
The river is cold and the wind cuts like a knife
The plain is flat, the sun has not set
Far, far away is distant Lintao
Where we battled day long at the Great Wall
Salty high spirits though we spoke hoarsely
What was then is now Yellow Dust
Bleached bones disturbed in bitter sagebrush