The proprietor of Thoughtful Ideas was a student of Chinese at Hong Kong University in 1963. To better understand Chinese political culture, he (hereafter I) decided to translate a poem that appeared in the Communist Party's main newspaper "People's Daily." I checked my translation with several instructors in the language school to verify that my translation was accurate and that it captured the flavor of the poem.
Ode to a Manure Basket:
Dedicated to the Commune Leader
Oh manure basket!
Is it worthwhile reflecting on your virtues?
Your manure basket on the contrary
Its bottom has often been changed,
And sides repaired so frequently
That everyone cannot but know that the handle
Has been worn slick.
When you were an ordinary commune member
It always followed you.
Every day winding through the big streets and small alleys;
Every hour reaching the village end and riverside!
When you became a commune leader,
Whether busy in the wind or rain
The manure basket, however, will never leave your hands,
Accompanying you to meetings, joining you in the harvest!
You need not waste talk
Urging the accumulation of manure like the collection of grain.
The manure basket is your link with the masses
Erecting a bridge of corresponding will!
Published in People’s Daily, July 16, 1963
Translated July 27, 1963