CHINA CONVOY

London
26th March 1990

The Convoy's thinning out along the road;
Some of the best have left us on the way -
We who are left must lift a growing load
Of pain and grief as we go through the day.
When our own journeys end we cannot say;
We only know we never can repay
The debt of love to others which we owed.
All we can do is travel on and pray
That when we leave this earthly road at last
We'll join the Convoy in another land
South of the Clouds where all that's dark has passed
And once again we'll shake a comrade's hand
No longer puzzled members of a cast
Acting a plot we do not understand.

 

THE CHINESE ROAD

Chungking
3rd July 1942

Along the Chinese road

Still come the caravans of ponies,

Their load

In panniers of wood,

The leader plumed,

Scarlet and purple,

Bells on every neck,

And when a lorry lurches by

They snort and rear their feet,

Check,

And with the drivers' shout

The journey is resumed.

Or in the noon-day heat

A water-buffalo

Will wallow in the mud.

Boys chase their pigs.

A corpse that's flecked with blood

Is quite ignored.

Those eyes have seen so many they are bored.

The Chinese road

Climbs every mountain,

Twists down a thousand feet

Into the green splashed valley.

The lorries smoke and groan,

And in the skies the travellers sit,

Their heads are hidden in the cloud,

They sing and joke,

The mother gives her child the breast.

The driver swears aloud

And with a moan

The lorry comes to rest.

Along the Chinese road

Come the yellow fish,

The lorries, caravans,

The children and the villages ---

The distant hills are blue,

The towns are walled,

Rice spreading green

From summit to the floor beneath

Swims in a muddy sheen.

Beside the road

Children and old ladies

Sell peaches, plums and sugar-cane,

Green peaches with a crimson heart,

Green peaches with white teeth apart,

Beneath a walnut tree.

 

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Photographs ©1987 The Estate of Stanley Thomas Betterton, dec'd

China Changed My Mind ©2015 The Beneficiaries of the Estate of David Elwyn Morris, dec'd

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