This is my version of a poem carved by a Chinese scholar, on the walls of the barracks where immigrants, mostly Chinese, were kept indefinitely on Angel Island, near San Francisco. There are many poems like this one on the walls of the barracks there. Some of them were filled with putty, and painted over, before the government realized that they are a national treasure, and a testament to the spirit of the people that were detained there.
Nothing to do. I opened a window.
Early morning moon, and the wind.
Thoughts of my village in China, so isolated.
Geese call faintly, far away.
A soldier talks of battles, now meaningless.
Ascending a tower, the poet forgets mankind.
A country of weak souls
Creates prisons such as this.