The Land Became Barren

By Stephen Pech Gai
Stephen Pech Gai's stories

The wind hovered low with sorrow
The day came undone, unwelcoming a new dawn
Our land shattered in endless darkness
The trees and the grass stood still for a morning in mourning
You, forest, have cast off Majuai, have shoved him to a far land

Has he gone for firewood or gone forever? Oh, our gods, guide him home.
Has he gone for an errand or entered an idle journey? Oh, let his footprint be traced.
Has he gone to hunt for a lush grazing land? Oh, good land, care for him!
You, forest, have cast off Majuai, have shoved him to a far land

The land of his birth became barren
The forest that bargained him into the hands of foreign bandits became hollow
His abductors had always been barren, cursed, and would never bear a child of their own
You, forest, have cast off Majuai, have shoved him to a far land

Our gods could no longer see
The great totem before which we bow and kowtow had gone blind
The ancestors, the gatekeepers of the land, were bare and dumb
The great forest was deaf when the footsteps of an abomination invaded the land
You, forest, have cast off Majuai, have shoved him to a far land

Who would walk on this desolate soil?
Who would eat from the fruits and the roots of this forest?
Who would go for errands, sing and dance with the birds of this forest?
You, forest, have cast off Majuai, have shoved him to a far land

He was my son, and the sun shone upon his face.
He had the skin of myself and my place of birth, our soil
You, forest, have cast off Majuai, have shoved him to a far land

 

 

16 March, 2023