Tiananmen

I remember reading this poem a year after the Tiananmen Square Massacre. It’s always struck me as an incredibly powerful piece and captures the spirit of the protesters both then and now. Even on this 24th anniversary of the Massacre, we are reminded that freedom of conscience and expression are powerful things not to be regarded lightly.

Tiananmen
by James Fenton

Tiananmen Square 1989Tianamen
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
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 lies
Thrown on the pile,
Thrown on the pile
By the cruel men
To cleanse the blood
From Tiananmen.

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.

Hong Kong, 15 June 1989

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Anglican Cycle


William Wilberforce
God our deliverer, who sent your Son Jesus Christ to set your people free from the slavery of sin: grant that, as your servant William Wilberforce toiled against the sin of slavery, so we may bring compassion to all and work for the freedom of all the children of God; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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Aber mit der Heimat
geht man immer herum,
durch die Welt,
dort und dort
Peter Handke

No one could describe
the Word of the Father;
but when He took flesh from you, O Theotokos,
He consented to be described, and restored the fallen image to its former beauty.
We confess and proclaim our salvation in word and image.
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