Friday, May 31, 2013

Worldwide Reading for Li Bifeng

Over the years, the Chinese authorities have impounded a large trove of Li Bifeng’s writings. Isn’t it enough to take away a writer’s work? Why send him to prison?
~ilb appeal for Li Bifeng

The international literary festival berlin (ilb) is calling artists and intellectuals, schools and universities, radio and TV stations, theatres and other cultural institutions to join together on June 4th for a worldwide reading in solidarity with Li Bifeng. You can read about Li Bifeng's case here.

In this country
we can only stay in hibernation

by Li Bifeng

But winter has come too soon
Our trees begin to dry

We do not have any more nourishment
So our hair is frozen

and has turned gray
by the snow of years

Our skin
looks like a field full of cracks

Winter is here
We are happy to stay in hibernation

The heart is tired
the blood also

Under the snow,
we remain in hibernation


Our eyes are two dry wells
by Li Bifeng

Eyes - these two dry wells
Deep in the puzzled gazes there
once fertile ground is hidden
The seedlings of love were
burned out through the fire of tears
We live on the other side of grief

Over the high wall, we watch
the sun from afar and
the mountains from afar
In the dreams of nights, we see
people from afar

Using the net of yearning we salvage
those scattered memories and then we let
the bones grow into the bones.


The Poetry Friday round-up is at Teaching Young Writers.


Linda B said...

It seems that pressure on the US might help as well. The poems are lonely feeling. Thank you for sharing about the 4th also, Tabatha.

jama said...

Such desolation in these poems, the "net of yearning" so poignant. Thanks for bringing his work to our attention, T.

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

Jama is right - there is deolation and loss in those poems which is hard to even imagine, as is this:
"We live on the other side of grief" - what one must have lost to have written that...

Ruth said...

Sending poets to prison says a lot about a regime. Thanks for sharing this with us, Tabatha.

Violet N. said...

What powerful poems. Images are haunting: "Our skin / looks like a field of cracks"and "The seedlings of love were / burned out through the fire of tears / We live on the other side of grief."

One thing about Chinese culture--it still acknowledges the power and relevance of the poet and poetry, otherwise why would their authorities hide away and try to silence this articulate man?

Liz Steinglass said...

I'm just seeing this now. Thanks for sharing it. His poems are very moving. I want to find more.

Tabatha said...

Liz, I couldn't find any others. Maybe they're gone.

Betsy Hubbard said...

Our Eyes are Two Dry Wells was sad but true for many. Growing apart, mourning loss, everything too far away to grasp. Beautiful and somber.