Liu Xia, “Dark Night”
March 21, 2016 § Leave a comment
We can’t return
to that moment.
Only wind wanders down
the Long Street of Eternal Peace.
A woman passes through the dark night,
white lilies refuse to stop her.
She carries a notebook filled with poems,
the one thing she’s brought,
and follows the footsteps of ghosts.
Into the night leaf after leaf
of white paper flies beyond sight.
–6/3-4/1997, from “Dark Night,” Liu Xia, in Empty Chairs, Graywolf Press, 2015,
translated by Ming Di & Jennifer Stern
PEN International: “Liu Xia is a Chinese poet, artist, and founding member of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre. She has been held in her Beijing apartment without access to phones, Internet, doctors of her choice, or visitors since her husband, imprisoned poet Liu Xiaobo, was named Nobel Peace Laureate in October 2010. There are reports that Liu Xia’s mental and physical health are suffering due to her detention. In January 2014 Liu Xia was rushed to hospital in Beijing after suffering myocardial ischemia (lack of blood flow to the heart). She returned for further tests on 8 February 2014 but was discharged the following day and is said to be in need of specialist medical care. Her phone line was reconnected after her initial hospitalisation to enable her to call for help in case of emergency. Liu reportedly sought permission to leave China to seek medical help abroad following the incident, however, the request was denied. PEN International believes that the ongoing, extra-judicial house arrest of Liu Xia is a form of punishment for the human rights work carried out by her husband, Liu Xiaobo, and is extremely concerned for her physical and psychological integrity.”
–“On World Poetry Day Take Action for Dissident Poets,” PEN International, Monday, 21st March, 2016