After the carnage of battle or in the ruins of a captured city, long-faced, scholarly Communist General Chen Yi liked to compose poetry.
Once, 14 years ago, Chen wrote a poem which he thought would be his last. It was at night, deep in the Fukien mountains. Chen had been wounded; his troops were starving; he was surrounded by Nationalists. He saw no way out but suicide. Wrote the despairing general:
Now I am going to hell to assemble my former troops,
One hundred thousand strong . . .
All of you who die after me must struggle on;
Let the communiqués of your victories