Loushan Pass

These poems, written between 1928 and 1956, appeared in the first number of the Chinese monthly, POETRY, in January, 1957. It is impossible to preserve in translation the distinctive rhythm and rhyme of the originals, yet these certainly reveal the skill of the poet Premier.


Loushan Pass is a strategic point in the Loushan Mountains in Tsunyi County, Kweichow. The Red Army occupied Tsunyi in January, 1935, during the course of the famous Long March, and shortly afterwards entered this pass.

Cold is the west wind;
Far in the frosty air the wild geese call in the morning moonlight.
In the morning moonlight
The clatter of horses’ hooves rings sharp,
And the bugle’s note is muted.
Do not say that the strong pass is guarded with iron.
This very day in one step we shall pass its summit,
We shall pass its summit!
And then the blue hills will be like the sea,
And the dying sun will be like blood.