Wall

In honor of the Mid Autumn Festival, we present this work by one of 20th century China’s greatest poets.

Ai Qing
Chinese
1910 – 1996

 

A wall is like a knife
It slices a city in half
One half is on the east
The other half is on the west

How tall is this wall?
How thick is it?
How long is it?
Even if it were taller, thicker and longer
It couldn’t be as tall, as thick and as long
As China’s Great Wall
It is only a vestige of history
A nation’s wound
Nobody likes this wall

Three metres tall is nothing
Fifty centimetres thick is nothing
Forty-five kilometres long is nothing
Even a thousand times taller
Even a thousand times thicker
Even a thousand times longer
How could it block out
The clouds, wind, rain, and sunshine of the heavens?

And how could it block out
The currents of water and air?

And how could it block out
A billion people
Whose thoughts are freer than the wind?
Whose will is more entrenched than the earth?
Whose wishes are more infinite than time?

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