People's Republic

Xin passed the pillar.
Chairman’s head raised
Above red mantle.
Four sides telling
In flowing font
Of ages and empires,
Battles and production,
Rivers traveled and tamed.
Of poets who sang
The Revolution.
Peasants who trod the terraces,
With partner-beasts.
Silent women who bore
The New Generation.
For a cup of rice each evening.
Xin read the account
Of pain, peril,
Party Promises.
Such patient dedication
In Grandfather’s time.
The Common Plan,
Common Pot, Common Purity.
(He died in
A mining box-car
Accident at Peng-Chow.)
Xin knew by sun’s angle
It was time to leave
The Great Square,
With its din of excited tourists,
Aiming Minoltas.
Paving-stones displayed
Scarrings and strafings.
Singed signatures
From That Other Day
Of Raised Fists.
And now, just enough time
To make the last cinema
With Meng, his latest interest,
Looking ever so right
In her blue Gap jeans.

(Inspired by our son's trip to China a couple of years ago.)


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