Frontier sons are lifelong illiterates
who know only how to hunt big game and brag about being tough guys.
They feed their Mongolian ponies white grass
to make them plump and strong in the autumn.
They race proudly on their horses chasing the sun's shadows.
They brush snow off with the crack of a gold whip.
Half drunk, they call their falcon and wander
far off to hunt.
They stretch their bows like a full moon and never miss.
One whistling arrow flies and two gray cranes fall.
The desert spectators step back in dread.
These virile heroes shake the sands.
Confucian scholars are no match for them.
What good is it to lock one's doors and read books till one is gray?
--Li Bai (translated by Tony Barnstone)