|In silence, frozen in time, they stood. Battalions of terra cotta soldiers,
once lacquered for realism, carrying real weapons, guarded their dead emperor.
Horses stood, no neigh or stomp, near war chariots.
All ready to fight for their king.
But against, I must wonder, what?
Surely not the very Gods who should welcome
this earthly god home?
Millenia marched onwards peeling paint from clay skins,
disintegrating sword and wheel. Still, as if waiting, they stood,
Listening, perchance, for sounding of imperial horn
to bring them to life in a different world?
No horn, but scrape of shovel heralded
their arrival two thousand years hence
to a different world yet, ultimately, the same.
Mute, in rank and file; unmoving. No general able to call his troops to arms:
to guard, attack or defend. Instead, they stood as implacable hoards
of scientists and grave robbers took them out, one by one,
to scatter across a world they wouldn’t recognize. The king left alone, unguarded.
Empty shells to guard a hollow king,
his spirit gone where ere it is that spirits fly
when earthly casings are spent.
One might imagine the Jade Emperor, perchance, sitting of an evening with
fellow gods on high, moving terra cotta solders and horses about some mythical field,
playing war like children moving this piece here or there. Spitefull minion god
swiping the board clean with mighty fist. Do over.
Standing them once again in their boxes;
toys put away for the night, until such time as they
play war again. It is only a game, after all.
A treasure trove to present day world, a peek back into the mists of time. Unintended
time capsule revealing the power of a king to wield such might, to surround himself
with such a guard to protect him in death. Encapsulated
representation of an era long buried in the annals of history.
Teaching but one lesson. No matter who we might be--
emperor or peasant, foot soldier or general: as once we came,
so we depart: for we are but a handful of clay.