An Old Song

by Marie Syrkin

Marie Syrkin

In the blossom-land Japan
Somewhere thus an old song ran.

Said a warrior to a smith
" Hammer me a sword forthwith.
Make the blade

Light as wind on water laid.
Make it long

As the wheat at harvest song.
Supple, swift

As a snake, without rift,
Full of lightnings, thousand-eyed!

Smooth as silken cloth and thin
As the web that spiders spin.
And merciless as pain, and cold. "

" On the hilt what shall be told? "

" On the sword's hilt, my good man, "
Said the warrior of Japan,
" Trace for me
A running lake, a flock of sheep
And one who sings her child to sleep. "

Last updated October 11, 2022