Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Writing in Chinese (Poem)

Empty Chair of Liu Xiaobo
2010 Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony

Writing in Chinese

      Opposition is not the same as undermining.
          ~ Liu Xiaobo

The tanks heave into Tiananmen
Square, and only after come

the explosions of yellow umbrellas—
the revolution of color that blinds

then binds the poet left behind
the Great Firewall. He who writes

gets one day for every blunt stroke
except the last 6 characters: 4,024

hanzi minus 4,018 days (11 years)—
a long sentence, even in Chinese.

In Qincheng he speaks to the ghosts,
replays how he'll answer to students

and workers who have yet to pen
names on their own Charter 08. Too-

late-moved to Shenyang hospital,
he who so disturbed the dreams of Xi

Jinping falls silent, becomes ashes.
From their nest, bird after bird is flying.

2017 © Maureen E. Doallas

Liu Xiaobo (December 28, 1955 - July 13, 2017), Chinese Human Rights Activist; Writer, Poet, and Literary Critic; Noble Peace Prize Winner (2010)

Charter 08, Petition for Democracy in China, December 10, 2008, 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Bird imagery features prominently in the poems of Liu Xia, the writer-activist's wife.

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