The Empress of China for Helen Lee – Righter

by Kendall Merriam


It’s high tide on an old coast
your warriors and court
await your orders
across the earth
knowing you have faced pain
but that has sharpened your mind
and that you will
step into the world
to save it from its own folly
Is this too much
to ask of a young woman
who may want to study ballet
in France or Brazilia
or run down a soccer field
playfulness still hanging on
but serious with three or four languages
you are well prepared
for a life of challenge and honor
you are kind to family and friends
but you take wisdom
from books and old scholars
to be prepared for a life of service