It has nothing to do with seeing, or memory or belief.
It is the blink after which the eyes open to find a frightening expanse
Of blankness, as if when an arithmetical operation comes
To the equation mark, there is nothing beyond for the result.
The only thing is a distant star, not a hanging hook, not a rivet either.
It is merely a lonely glitter, for a long cloudless night.
It is like the towns and villages after a high-intensity earthquake,
And gone with them are those children like flowers, parents like grasses,
Elders like fallen leaves, none of whom has a name, all part of a number.
Our distorted faces try hard not to cry, but we just cannot hold back,
While to hold or not to hold has nothing to do with what we are told.
We are chased by belief and memory, like ants on a warming pan,
But we can find nowhere to write down the final answer.
Hopeless hope is the nothingness beyond an equation mark.
April 28, 2009
This poem is about Sichuan Earthquake one year ago (May 12, 2008). Many many schools (were) crumbled in an instant, many (if not most) of which actually had quality problems (structural -design faults and shoddy materials etc.). There have been cries for investigation into the schoolhouse problems and for an exact number of victims/casualties. However, the authorities seemed to be too busy with "rebuilding" and covering up to reveal the truth. So many people died without a name, and even did not make themselves part of the number (since the number is smaller than the actual one). Some volunteers (NGO is not allowed there) have to play cat-and-mouse games to investigate (not into the quality of schoolhouses) in order to make a more acurrate number of deaths and missing individuals.