Friday, December 10, 2010

Words a Cell Can’t Hold

Liu Xiaobo, the recipient of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, won't be in Oslo today to receive his prize. China has forbidden him to travel to the award ceremony.  The New York Times printed one of his poems on their op-ed page yesterday;  here's a portion:
Deep in the night, empty road
I’m biking home
I stop at a cigarette stand
A car follows me, crashes over my bicycle
some enormous brutes seize me
I’m handcuffed eyes covered mouth gagged
thrown into a prison van heading nowhere

A blink, a trembling instant passes
to a flash of awareness: I’m still alive
On Central Television News
my name’s changed to “arrested black hand”
though those nameless white bones of the dead
still stand in the forgetting
I lift up high up the self-invented lie
tell everyone how I’ve experienced death
so that “black hand” becomes a hero’s medal of honor

Even if I know
death’s a mysterious unknown
being alive, there’s no way to experience death
and once dead
cannot experience death again
yet I’m still
hovering within death
a hovering in drowning
Countless nights behind iron-barred windows
and the graves beneath starlight
have exposed my nightmares

Besides a lie
I own nothing

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Wow. Beautiful and devastating all at once...