On city walls the prostitutes, they drained
Their bodies, blood and clouded piss they dropped,
Below the flimsy flock now quit their siege,
In horror crying loud as if fellated,
They fled on flabby hams like squealing pigs,
Failed, flabbergasted. Whores exhaust – this task
Tax on the bodies, bane of men, that baffle
Warriors. Yet below, their leader grand,
A fox among sea dogs, her weapons wit
And wile, and power little understood,
Her charm, and her late husband’s sword, a proud
Keepsake strong woman-wielded, commandeered
A fleet mayhaps by sixty thousand crewed,
Imbued with her cool clarity of mind.
Grim, smuggling thugs ingrained with greed indeed,
But strictly structured now and disciplined.
That whore could rise from urchin to arch king,
Carnivorous, to claim the China seas,
The Chinese waters all within her ring,
From flower boat she blossomed, lily fair,
Turned pirate’s wife, then widowed from this post
Of high regard, and yet maintained, mainstayed,
Not wallowed in black waters, nay, but strove,
And thrived, Cheng’s steel in hand, and yet erect.
A feat most proud, an undefeated fleet,
Blast-battered, barnacle-encrusted, yet,
Prolific warrior and sturdy foe,
And ever cunning, chose her triumph well:
Unarmed, invincible, she came. And still
Formidable, she struck a bargain, then:
Lived out her last in epic requiem.