A poem by Li He (791-817)

Ancient Arrowhead

Lacquer flakes, bone-dust and water
	made this vermilion color;
And fearful, ancient stains
	bloomed on this bronze arrowhead.
Its white feathers and gold rings
	have now gone with the rain,
Leaving only this angular wolf's tooth.

Riding the plain with a pair of horses,
I found it, east of the courier station,
	among the weeds.
The long wind shortened the day,
	while a few stars shivered,
And damp clouds like black banners
	were hoisted in the night.

Thin demons and ghosts sang
	to the left and the right.
I offered them pressed mutton and cream,
And crickets were silent, wild geese ill and reeds turned red.
The spirit of the whirlwind spat emerald fire
	to bid me farewell.

I stowed it away with my tears.
Its point, crimson and crooked,
	once bit into flesh.
In various districts, young riders ask me
Why I don't sell it to buy firewood.

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