“Kowloon — 9 Dragons” by Zachary Downie



Here is a poem by Zachary Downie. He is a 14 year old Australian expat and currently studying at West Island School in Hong Kong. Zac is Robyn Youl’s Grandson and has written a poem about the region of Hong Kong known as Kowloon and the legend and history behind it.



There was a boy called Bing, he was 8.

He had just been crowned emperor of a doomed dynasty.

We see a boy, his subjects saw a dragon.

His subjects saw mountains, he saw fellow dragons.

He saw 8 dragons;

He saw 8 friends;

He saw 8 guardians to help him rule his kingdom.

He spoke to them:

First, P’u-Lao, my noble protector;

Alert me to danger.

Second, Ch’iu-Niu, I need music in my court;

You are my musician.

Third, Pi-Has, my lucky scholar;

Help me to learn, my friend.

Sometimes, I am lonely;

Stand by me, Pa-Hsia, in times of need.

My guardian, Chao-Feng;

Watch all that is holy: my temples and my lands.

Kublai Khan draws closer;

Douse the flames of war, Chih Wen.

Suan-Ni, keep my subjects at my side;

Keep my courtiers loyal, keep my soldiers strong.

Yai-Tzu, I am only 8 and yet I lead my people into battle;

Protect me from harm, or at least don’t let it hurt too much.

And I, Pi-Kau;

I will listen to my subjects.

I will settle their quarrels.

I will hear them and sometimes listen.

I am 8, I can do this.


Kublai Khan had won.

Bing’s dynasty is defeated.

His loyal general, Lu Xiufu, picked up the boy and leapt into the sea.

An honourable death for a boy who named a city.

Kowloon, today;

8 mountains guard a sleeping boy:

The 9th dragon.

2 thoughts on ““Kowloon — 9 Dragons” by Zachary Downie

  1. Wow Zac I loved your poem. I note that your are 14 years old so my message as an older person is keep writing!!
    Your poem painted a picture in my mind of a vulnerable yet strong boy, a leader who left the world too young.

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