"Tank Man" photo from 1989 massacre (left); Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg jogs through Tiananmen Square earlier this yearOn the 27th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre: Three Poets Speak The Society June 4, 2016 Culture, Human Rights in China, Poetry 6 Comments Post your Tiananmen Square poems in the comments section below. Tiananmen By James Fenton, Hong Kong, 15 June 1989 Tianamen Is broad and clean And you can’t tell Where the dead have been And you can’t tell What happened then And you can’t speak Of Tianamen. You must not speak. You must not think. You must not dip Your brush in ink. You must not say What happened then, What happened there. What happened there In Tiananmen. The cruel men Are old and deaf Ready to kill But short of breath And they will die Like other men And they’ll lie in state In Tianamen. They lie in state. They lie in style. Another lie’s Thrown on the pile, Thrown on the pile By the cruel men To cleanse the blood From Tianamen. Truth is a secret. Keep it dark. Keep it dark. In our heart of hearts. Keep it dark Till you know when Truth may return To Tiananmen. Tiananmen Is broad and clean And you can’t tell Where the dead have been And you can’t tell When they’ll come again. They’ll come again To Tiananmen. James Fenton is one of the most noted living poets in the United Kingdom. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was Oxford Professor of Poetry for the period 1994-99. Tiananmen Revisited By Evan Mantyk, New York, June 1, 2016 Tiananmen Is loads of fun; Look at those men As they run! Cameras flash And smart phones fly! As they dash The women sigh! The one in front, Mark Zuckerberg, Says, “This PR stunt Has been superb! Tiananmen Has culture great; It’s been a ten! It’s been first rate!” But smiling face And sporty pose Seem out of place As thick smog flows Through Tiananmen, Where blood has poured From valiant men Who’re now ignored; Where Falun Gong Was framed with lies Was blamed with wrong Of flamed suicides. These peaceful men Who meditate On Tiananmen Now face hate. But you won’t see On CNN, Or ABC, Or BBC Much about what’s Happening Behind the smiles On Tiananmen; For they would lose Their Beijing post So rather choose To please their host Whose influence Does fast ascend Over conscience— Over Tiananmen. Evan Mantyk is a high school English teacher in the Hudson Valley of New York. Tiananmen, a Follow-on from James Fenton’s 1989 poem By Damian Robin, Sheffield, U.K., May 23, 2016 They’ve come again The dead and live That won’t lie down, That still survive, That hold up scarfs With “Zhen Shan Ren” In present danger In Tiananmen. They’re there now, In ghostly shots, Surveilled Then veiled And Photoshopped. Absent as the day is long, Large, unwieldy Falun Gong. They’re there now, Standing strong Locked in prisons, Locked away. Locked from seeing Night and day. Locked like buildings, Day and night. Tiananmen Looks broad and clean, A tourist trap A travel scene. Old dissidents Long cleared away, Unruly students Cleared away. Human rightists Cleared away. Muslim Uyghurs Cleared away. House Church Christ’yans Cleared away. Tibetan Buddhists Cleared away. Falun Gong Too big to say. Falun Gong Locked Away. Falun Gong Locked deep and hard All over China, The prison yard. To see off threat, To blind the light, To turn off truth To keep things tight. To spread things neat, To press things calm, They spin each street With threats of harm. Here’s the rods And here’s the batons. Here’s the electric Powered from pylons. Here’s the burns, The scars, the stench, The bodies dulled, The tiger bench. Here’s the dark, The cover-up, The bars that bar, The thugs that wrench, The organs pulled, The instruments, The data sheets That hate indents. The Party’s clean Of Falun Gong. The U.N.’s been, Its looks were long: Official waits At see-through gates, At sanctioned scenes On C.C. screens. The U.N.’s been, It can’t lament. What was not seen, It can’t invent. There is no proof Of wrong expense. There is no proof In absence. Another time, The Partymen Had a Photo Fest On Tiananmen. With old-style tricks And cruder lies, They pulled the beef On Global eyes. Lunatics Part-cooked themselves In a cam’ra fix On the snow-pathed floor, In winter bite In focused whirr, In police-watched Square Of Tiananmen. Five or seven (The numbers changed) Sat on the floor Limbs re-arranged Not in the pose Of Falun Gong But supposed to be Of Falun Gong. They sat down sure, In cold, clear view, On the cold clear floor, These motley who The police did not Do anything to When they set themselves In Tiananmen. But when the flames Had licked their lips, And shushed the snow, There was a rush Of uniform And plain clothes men On the snow-mazed plan Of Tiananmen. In a time so fast On a space so vast As though touch-primed A crowd dispatched With extinguishers And fire blankets And fire fighters, Standard class. In ambulance, And screeching vans, Through heaps of smoke, Through human smoke Like stringent smoke From tear gas cans The crowd arrived, A gang arrived. This crowd milled round The smould’ring crowd Who’d been allowed To burn in shrouds Of smoke and stench, Charred clothes and skin, On frozen stone On Tiananmen And CC cam’ras Caught the scene, And a shoulder cam’ra Filed between The ghostly figures, The ghastly smoke, The smoth’ring bodies On Tiananmen. And the video tapes Were shown with pride: “Some Falun Gong Self-burned and died” The tapes were shown, And the story grown, That Falun Gong Was madness-prone. That showed quite plain, The Party cried, The Party’s sane, The Party’s right To start again A nation-wide Eradication, This time of Falun. And they had proof These shots were not A Party-planted Setup plot. “It was not staged. This is not fake. This is the truth, Make no mistake.” The shouldered cam’ra, Officials said, Was confiscated In Tiananmen, Right there and then In Tiananmen, From a cam’raman From CCN. But CNN Said it did not Have a cam’raman In Tiananmen On that day That famed and framed And flame-filmed day In Tiananmen. So the ruling Party Returned its truth, Its red hot truth, Its half-baked truth, Its charcoaled truth, Its crumbled truth, Its ashen truth, To Tiananmen. Its anthem song Of “Party good Is China’s good”, Its power song Of “Party strength Is China’s wealth”, Pitch perfect To the decibel. For all is sound And all is well In house and road, In farm and dell, In office block, In court and cell, In lock and rock, And oil well. All is good, Is as it should, For People, Students, Army blocks, For smiling throngs Who don’t belong To other truths, To other songs Of Muslim Uyghurs, Human rightists, House Church Christ’yans, Dissident writers, Tibetan Buddhists, Democracy’s fans, Or the open quiet Of Falun Gong. Random Notes https://www.falsefire.com https://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2004/9/12/52331.html “Jiang Zemin Needs to Explain the Incongruities of the “Tiananmen Self-immolation” at the Fourth Plenary Meeting of the Chinese Ruling Party Committee (Photos)”. Jiang was the main perpetrator of the clampdown on Falun Gong. He lives in Shanghai and is a major target of Xi Jinxing’s anti-corruption campaign. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcYdcC_I6BQ EU Resolution on OH 2013 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_54c7f3inQw&feature=youtu.be [Finishes at 10.13] The Minnesota Senate passed a resolution Friday, May 20, this year, expressing concern over China’s alleged state-sanctioned, forced organ harvesting from non-consenting Falun Gong faith members. https://www.clearwisdom.net/cc/86/ Peaceful Protest of April 25, 1999. Ten years after the Tiananmen Massacre, a peaceful protest near Tiananmen is used as a pretext for a nation-wide suppression. The persecution of Falun Gong is now considered a genocide. Courts in Spain and Argentina have indicted senior Chinese officials for genocide and crimes against humanity for their involvement in the oppression of Falun Gong. Damian Robin has been an editor and writer on newspapers and magazines and is now an editor for a publishing company. He lives in the United Kingdom. Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 6 Responses The Society June 4, 2016 http://classicalpoets.org/poetry-in-traditional-celtic-and-bardic-forms-by-elizabeth-spencer-spragins/ Tiananmen Square By Elizabeth Spencer Spragins (A Clogyrnach) Youthful zeal fans sparks of unrest To flames as the jaded protest. They throng to the square To challenge the chair With a stare To the West. Unarmed, undeterred, they dare bring To light fervent hopes for the spring. The peaceful crusade Designed to persuade Draws the blade Of Beijing. Red tide swallows the dead and maimed, Drowns voices, erases those named. Unmoved by their fate, Cold eyes of the State Watch and wait, Unashamed. Reply The Society June 4, 2016 http://classicalpoets.org/the-goddess-and-other-poetry-by-gabe-russo/ The Goddess By Gabe Russo I. Black breeze On white foam hands Held high, lifting freedom: Shinning fast Her people’s torch in His eyes. II. Thunder Rolling on dawn– Tanks over Her hands break; Her people shattered in the square Long gone. Reply The Society June 4, 2016 http://classicalpoets.org/the-shore-and-other-poetry-by-abigail-zhong/ My Friend By Abigail Zhong My friend, she wears a hat with a red star Delivered from a warehouse as a joke She holds the Communist Manifesto Reads words on which so many others choke Talks of overthrowing the bourgeoisie Our classmates laugh, they have never seen truth My parents don’t speak of their old country Their bodies have scars left over from youth My friend knows nothing of revolution The blood and tears shed in Tiananmen Square The starvation of the Great Leap Forward She’s never fled her home out of despair Mao’s image still rests on grandfather’s wall The tide not fully turned, old wounds not closed Scholars are muzzled not sent to the fields Today, basic freedom is still opposed My friend and I read our history books Millions of deaths fit on a single page Where lives are not lives, but neat statistics Distance is a privilege of our age In China the monuments still bear scars The soil remains bloody under their feet But the people are moving forward still A new generation filling the street Reply Damian Robin June 5, 2016 Liu Xiaobo — non-violent Tiananmen Square activist, peaceful dissident, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2010 (tho not allowed to attend the award ceremony), imprisoned for eleven years –has written a poem every year for 27 years commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. There are a number of dual text books: https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/1092849/june-fourth-elegies/ Liu Xiaobo: ‘I have no Enemies’, a film about his life. [A Manifesto ‘We Have No Enemies’, written by Liu and two others, was read out in Tiananmen Square during the protests around China in 1989] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_UBVXK63JA Liu Xioabao’s wife, Liu Xia, reads two of her poems http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/15/liu-xiaobo-china-nobel-prize-prison-wife-liu-xia-mistreat A hint of Liu Xia’s life Reply Damian Robin June 8, 2016 June 4th Incident Our thoughts still soar across the Square like birds, like eyes and ears, millions on the spot, dense and cloudy, no-one can shoot the lot, so truth turns round and translates times to words and images that drone on massacres and tanks and bikes and bullets’ spikes and death and dead on makeshift stretchers taking breath and down the internet non-China stares and knows it’s there, and finds it’s there, despite the stringent cloths of bleached amnesia, the spartan clean of friendly media, the gagging gang in isolated might whose rain of fear means memory ferments, but can’t click clean the Party’s incidents. Reply Damian Robin July 25, 2016 After the Massacre Freedom was shot. But the Party’s flags were equalled by a man and two shopping bags. Columned tanks belonged to the emptied freeway. Crowds had scattered from their tariffed hardness. Their approaching divisions gave little leeway, clicked the expected end’s depressive darkness. The white shirt man bulged with white-bagged ballast. A small man (step to this side, step to that side) who climbed a tank then was taken off, off balance, by many men, one with a bike to ride. We still don’t know their names — the good man, the bad men, the tank man, the take men. Would they take orders again? Take sides to make the outcome the same again, these and many, many unmarked men? Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.