The Great Sparrow Campaign

Inked on hand scrolls like blossom we sparrows

sang of the Song dynasty. Spry, anxious,

we chanced around the feet of Ito Rojo

who captured our innocence. But art is

decadent and false. Now, from Nanyang

the Girls’ Rifle Team take aim, the peasants

rattle ladles against pots and pans.

From open parks and vast plains the word is sent.

To Mao Zedong we are a public scourge,

the pestilence of capital. In flight

we die. What art will bring us from the purge:

Wintry sparrows fleeing the fields at night.

by Gregor Addison

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