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Deathbeds In The Desert -

The sand is stained red
with our bygone blood,
the blood that brought us from Ararat to the Alti,
a tribe trekking intrepidly through the Eurasian terrain,
caravans of Caucasians clad with Celtic tartan twills
plaids upon the pale horse heros of prehistory
settling the stupefying steppes one generation after another
with our sublime stamina for millennia
humming deep dreams through high mountain dawns
reaching the rugid rim of the Tarim Basin
long before China was to breathe and begin,
Destiny always adrum in our gemstone eyes
silken hair of gold, auburn and copper
candling the firelight of open life
braiding beauty and bravery beyond the shoulders of sorrow,
emblems of the spinning Sun and rebirth
tattooed simply into our reddened ivory skin,

The Silk Road was our road for eons
before the Han Chinese had the army and arts
to do business with the West through the Jade Gate,
We were the Yuezhi, the white tigers of Xinjiang,
trade masters of the Taklamakan treasures,
we rode our horses and hopes
into this ancient hinterland's wild hush
for the love of fresh frontier,
the winds didn't wait for secrets to be sown
nor did the seasons ask Time to come home,
the river deltas kept the sands shy and far away,
in oriental nights the torches of our Tocharian tribe
gave tribute to timeless and merry mysteries,

Buried were we in boats of poplar patience
to bespeak our escape from the Flood fate
ephedra and feathers bestowed for our farewell
the kurgan complete in the wheel of the Sun,
We are the Aryan artifacts of an undeniable Age
an enigma arisen to testify for awoken truth,
unearthed to unravel the beauty of our journey -

J.A.B.  2019

This poem has been inspired by the enchanting mummified bodies
and artifacts discovered in the Tarim Basin of western China
which testify to the existence of a very ancient
Caucasian people whom inhabited the region
more than 4,000 years ago and who were the predecessors
of the marvelous Tocharian Culture that thrived throughout
Central Asia and northwest China until, circa, 700 A.D.
I admire the devotion and expertise of Doctor Victor Mair,
a Professor of Chinese Studies from the University of Pennsylvania
whom has conducted extensive research personally
in and around Xinjiang Province with other passionate scholars
including Elizabeth Wayland Barber, an expert in ancient textiles
whom published the fascinating book,
The Mummies Of Urumchi in 1999.
It is crucial to keep in mind
that the oldest burial complex yet discovered
dating to circa 2,000 B.C.
is evidence of a culture that lived and flourished
in this part of modern China well before 2,000 B.C....Justin A. Bordner

Copyright © Justin Bordner | Year Posted 2019


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  1. Date: 8/15/2019 3:12:00 AM

    You are a master in mental and spiritual travel through time. Such a special poet...thank you for sharing. I love these lines btw: "braiding beauty and bravery beyond the shoulders of sorrow"...and "for the love of fresh frontier, the winds didn't wait for secrets to be sown nor did the seasons ask Time to come home" If I had to choose home from the journey, I would choose the latter. It's almost always the more exciting choice.. Love always, Laura
  1. Date: 8/15/2019 3:09:00 AM

    Truly a fascinating poem Justin. From generation to generation it seems like history shows us time and time again that we are natural travelers. We like to get away. I know I do! I've always loved your writing because you take me far away from anything I've ever thought of. It is a treat to immerse oneself in another story or perspective -from mountain to mountain - desert to the ocean - travel broadens our minds.
  1. Date: 8/1/2019 12:54:00 AM

    Justin, I found this so interesting and you managed to create all this history in a wonderful memorable poem. I am faving this beauty to read again and again. Thank you my friend. Excellent! xxoo ; )
  1. Date: 6/18/2019 4:48:00 PM

    Wonderfully written historical poetry justine. A classic and sure to inspire more research on the part of your readers