China always intrigued me. As a child I read Pearl Buck’s books, and later happily studied Chinese history, literature and philosophers at our local university.
When the country opened, if just a little, after the Tiananmen Square Massacre (1989), I finally visited in 1991, after obsessing about China for years.
Many died in the Tiananmen Square Massacre. We’ll probably never know how many. Our group were some of the first tourists to visit afterwards, so I was not surprised at the mixed reactions we created.
The presence of many soldiers throughout the cities made me uncomfortable, I wasn’t used to so many military men in the streets. Were they following us?
I’m not a shopper nor used to crowds, and so was terrified at the crush of people in the shopping district of Shanghai. Hans and I just fought our way across the sidewalk to dash back to our bus before it left to park. We sat in it talking as we waited for the others to return.
We think of the Great Wall as one of the wonders of the world, but I considered the bus drivers, who managed to get us safely from one place to another in the insane traffic as the real wonders of the world.
I wrote this little poem to read from the top of the famous Great Wall of China as a tribute to the many brilliant Chinese poets I’d read through the years.
Song of China
Oh, revered Chinese poets and scribes
Who have given beauty in song for ages
Hear these unworthy words I offer you
As they drift softly on the winds of your land
Where my breath and presence
Are but a wink in eternity.
I humbly give you this song as a tribute
To the beauty and wisdom you give me
With your words which will endure forever.
May this little poem, in my foreign tongue,
Please the ears of your spirits, who hover
Around me In the heavens above China.
LOVE your poem!! Do you mind if I steal it for my tutoring files to possibly use with students?
Oh, thank you so much Carol: Since I respect your opinion, your comment makes me feel really good! Go for it girl. Use it as you wish. Fond regards, Muriel
I’m sure the spirits heard you and enjoyed your heartfelt sentiments.
Surely they could have even if the tourists on the Great Wall weren’t interested. Chuckle.
Beautiful poem, Muriel. 🙂 Insightful as always!
Thank you Chris: glad you liked it. Cheers.
Beautiful poem Muriel. China has always been a mystery to me. It still is. My high school friends in Brooklyn Tech were of Chinese descent. All were top A students. Their families were close knit. I think that family bond has contributed to the success of the Chinese. Now at 90 I am intrigued about their culture. I admire you as a pioneer in learning about China when most people were aloof. You are amazing. If I were President you will definitely be my Ambassador to China. As always your blog is fascinating to read. Especially the original poem. Fondly, Joe
Thanks Joe: I guess China seemed so different to me even when I was a little girl that it pulled out to me. I was so pleased to finally make it there. Glad you enjoyed my poem. Fondly.
Good poem! I like this phrase of yours a lot:
“. . . a wink in eternity.”
Enjoy the week. See you.
Thank you Neil: Yes, the Chinese have an ancient civilization and certainly, when you think of humanity in general, we are all just ‘a wink in eternity’. Right?
That’s for sure. Unfortunately.