Only a Shadow
A Poem about Lu Xun

I wanted to take the horse today
Perhaps a walk in the cold autumn breeze
It's cold today, unlike the days before
Days longer to days shorter
The end of summer welcomes the fall
As the quiet pond welcomes me
Yes, it smiles then turns around
Just as if I was his invited guest

'Have a seat, my friend, dear child'
He would say, 'And tell me why you frown.'
Of course I obeyed, like I always do
Take off my shoes, cross my legs
No one else would hear my distress, so
I spoke to my friend, the water, and said
'I won a great battle, and I was commander'
Saying with as much pride as I could

'Defeated a villain and sent him away
And I, the hero, was quite victorious.'
The pond just laughed, to praise my efforts
It's maiden, the wind, gave me a tender hug
'But,' the pond began, 'You hold back
You have not told me why you frown.'
No use lying, I told to myself
Giving a deep, long depressing sigh

I told the truth and took a breath, ready to comply
'Though I had won, I was not the winner
Nor the hero who shines ever so bright
I caused my foe pain, and much grief
Perhaps, then, it is I who is the villain.'
Then I cried, letting them slide away
'My lord, my friends, they call me someone else, too
That I was just his successor.
It was my success that I won,
But the praise will forever be his, and I his shadow!'

This was true, I heard them say
'At last we have another Zhou Yu!'
Though it wasn't him that dealt the last blow
But I, his unworthy shadow!
The pond gave me a smile, its face all crinkling with ripples
With another hug, he laughed, drawing me to look at him
'You are not Zhou Yu, but not his shadow
You are yourself, your own star
A star, not a shadow, to shine above all else!'

Cupping my chin and rising my face
I knew he spoke the truth
'Do not let them take your shine
It is yours to keep, to hold, my friend
You will be known for more than this
Much more then a memory'
He was right, I knew it in my heart
And gave him one last long embrace
Leaving, I gave him my farewell
And, not to be in anyone's shadow,
I walked in the light.