Saturday, December 27, 2008

Reprising this.....

A footnote to Martin Edmond's Zheng He ficcione

His body was taken back to China and interred along with his testicles, kept, as was customary, in a sealed pouch carried since castration always on a belt at his waist.

Martin Edmond: Zheng He: A True Ficcione

All else you say is true,
though few know about the
voyage to Luca Antara. Most
thought we stopped at Java;
but he & I went further south,
in a small boat, with a
trusted crew. The same
who later kept the secret
of his burial. What history
records as happening
is a fiction. Certainly
there is an inland tomb, with
Allahu Akbar inscribed
upon it. & a nearby stela
gives details of the seven
voyages. But remember
Zheng He was both a
Muslim & a sailor: Islam
decrees a speedy burial
& the tradition of the sea
demands interment in the
ocean. We wrapped him
in silk once we'd reattached
his young boy’s balls to
their proper place with
gum arabic. & one day
out from Calicut, during the
first watch, accompanied only
by our murmured prayers
& the creak of wood being
pressured by the water, we
did commend his body
to the ocean. Entire again.

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