In the Square of Heavenly Peace

by Ming Di, translated from the Chinese by the author

In the Square of Heavenly Peace

after Ezra Pound

The aspirations of these young faces in the crowd—
plums crushed by a rust-bloody tower.






Author’s Note:

I see a gigantic tank, the Tiananmen Tower
with Mao’s picture, rolling along
the Tiananmen Square. Heavenly Peace,
that’s what the name is.
I hear people cry out, in peace, aspiring
for light from darkness.
An ocean of voices.
An ocean of gasping when the tank moves over.
An ocean of faces—
petals of plum blossoms—smashed
as the tank rolls down
the Avenue of Eternal Peace.

Ming Di is a Chinese poet with six books of poetry and four in translation including River Merchant’s Wife (Marick Press. 2012). She studied English literature in China and linguistics in the United States and taught Chinese at Boston University before moving to California. She edited and co-translated New Cathay: Contemporary Chinese Poetry (Tupelo, 2013) and New Poetry from China 1917-2017 (Black Square, 2019). She received Luce Foundation fellowships in 2013 and 2014. She also translates from English into Chinese, most recent publication being Observations by Marianne Moore (Sichuan Wenyi, 2018). She is the co-translator (with Jennifer Stern) of Liu Xia’s Empty Chairs (Graywolf Press)

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