I rose the morning of our battle, robbed of sleep by sudden prattle, and rubbed my temples as I stood: little would it do me good. 

For as I left my tent behind, it seemed as though I'd lost my mind. Before me stood a thing unheard; I struggle just to find the word. 

You see, I have in my employ five generals, but more like boys; a constant source of strange hijinks, a riddle that would stump the

 This day they acted just the same; I bless their hearts, but fault their brains.

 "My lord!" they cried in unison, "Come take a look what we have done!" 

And what was it that they thought good? Each man upon another stood, all five together, foot to head; a sight to fill my heart with dread. Hardly had I taken in the sight of tower made of men when on they blustered into verse some deadly
 medley they'd rehearsed.

 "We are the Rangers Five of Wei! Listen to our words today!" 

They paused, and opened I my lips to argue, but was soon eclipsed. 

"First me!" said Wenyuan, "on the base!" I marveled that he held his place. "For I serve as our lord's foundation, protector of our storied nation!" 

"I'm next," said Junyi, looking troubled; "what Wenyuan claims I can claim double! For he’s defender, I assault! No one can with me find fault!" 

The third man, Gongming, less enthused; were I not me, I'd be amused. "Neither Zhang nor Jin am I, yet without me they can't get by. For all the rest are unrestrained, but I make sure to keep what's gained."

 "Then me," said Wenze with due care, a boot all tangled in his hair, "I whip the others into shape, and save our men from every scrape. While others all the glory steal, my men's well-being is my zeal."

 "And now!" cried Wenqian, short on temper, "the sword of Wei that makes men whimper! I'll cleave the enemy in two, and feed my blade on Shu and Wu!" He waved a bit to punctuate his anger, ardor, and his hate.

 "My lord!" they shouted out aloud. "Trust in us, we'll make you proud!"

 Pride is not the word I'd use, but ah... these boys I can't refuse.

Poem by Taishi Ci 2.0


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