I love this. ” A gleaming new moon would rise from century-old rust.” Used to watch my dad performing this feat on the old foot pedal grinding wheel .
and “Whether depriving one’s opponents
of their fleshy halos
or making the circuit
of a smoke-filled room,”
Although hard to detach my myself from my current angst about the smoke filled rooms and real politics in present day Pennsylvania, I loved the duality of this indian image. Part peace pipe to be sent around the sacred circle, and part scalper, (provided the ‘halos’ were the diadem of hair we all seem to cultivate. ) Now I could have this wrong, as I so often do, but I guess the freedom of good poetic image is its ability to mean different things to different people, as you just illustrated with Confucius having a different ax to grind than the ‘earthier’ version I liked. (grin)