Night train to Xi'An

Dragon rages southward, rolling

Past the temples, dawn-cry tolling.

Outside the bunks, shadowed and keeping

Baba, mama breath-bound, sleeping;

Erzi's charcoal eyes blink, gazing

At the rosy phoenix raising

Sun-flecked wings on dew-soaked fields

And fire-lined fence wires bound like shields.

Feathered light from night's dark womb

Showers the gates to a lonely tomb.


Xi'An is a historic capital city in China and the burial place of China's first emperor, Shi Huangdi

"Baba, mama" is Mandarin Chinese for "Father, mother"

"Erzi" is Mandarin Chinese for "son"