Bei Dao Poems
Chinese civilization has always been a great breeding ground for philosophers and poets who with their philosophical thoughts and poetry have influenced not only the Chinese society but also left a deep impact on the literary history of the world. Bei Dao has been a significant contemporary author from China who played an important role in the Chinese Cultural Revolution. He was one of the supporter of the Revolution and was very open about the cultural and social isolation that different people faced in china. He considered the restrictions on freedom of speech to be against human rights and spread an awareness against these restriction through his writings which made him a target to the state prosecution.
Bei Dao, in association with other poets started to write encrypted poems that had a hidden agenda to spread an awareness in the general public in favor of democratic values in China. This type of poetry is known as “misty poetry”. Bei Dao was accompanied by other poets in this good work. This group of poets who enlightened Chinese people with their poetry were known to be “misty poets” (“Brief Guide to Misty Poets | Academy of American Poets”) at that time.
In the following discussion I would like to review three of Bei Dao’s poems that are undoubtedly a great collection to the poetic inventory of the Chinese civilization. These poems have a unique message and a mesmerizing effect on it readers.
This poem start with a focus on the beginning of a day and carries the readers to be faced with the atrocities that happening to the people during the whole day. In the first verse he describes the morning as a shining beginning and then he moves on with his second verse by focusing on the life of the humans as an individual entity. He shed some light on the unnatural development of the human system and how it effects our lives.
The poems is a great calling for those who have been made to believe that they have to work day in and out to achieve happiness. They are made to work like machines during the day and as a result they have restless life. The actual that they desire is love but love is depicted in today’s world as a material entity rather than an emotional attachment to each other. Bei Dao reaches out to his readers with this poem to look for happiness in non-material things. For example he says that working hard does not guarantee that you can buy happiness.
This poem informs the whole world about the struggle that took place in the street of china to attain democracy and freedom of speech and expression. Bei Dao expresses his feelings for the atrocities that happened as a result of this uprising at the hands of the state machinery. He acknowledges the sacrifices of those who gave their life for what they believed. He also writes about the emotional pressure that has been put on the freedom fighters due to the deaths of their loved ones. But he stresses that life is a chain of events like weather. As the weather changes same is the life changes from bad to a better one. He asks his readers to rise up and have the ability to adopt to the changing circumstances.
At the end of his poem, Bei Dao, comes up with a strong message of asking the oppressed nation to rise to the sky and forget what atrocities have been taking place in the past. This message has been given in the verse “A new conjunction and glimmering stars, Adorn the unobstructed sky now”, (“Answer by Bei Dao: The Poetry Foundation”) where the poet uses starts as a symbol of brighter future.
Many innocent, unarmed people lost their lives in the Cultural Revolution at the Tiananmen Square in the year 1989. These events representing a brutal form of state oppression left a great ark on the feelings of Bei Doa and the poem “Requiem” has been written to commemorate their sacrifice. The poet has started the poem with the verse, “The wave of that year, flooded the sands on the mirror”. This verse signifies the suffering that the protester had to go through. He has depicted the happening in the Tiananmen Square in a very profound way that touches the hearts of his readers and provides you a feeling as if you were there.
In conclusion I would like to say that Bei Dao will always be remembered as a poet who believed in a just world. He fought for the rights of the oppressed people with his poems. He introduced a new wave of courage in the people who had lost hope. He was a firm believer in democracy and civil rights and these values were the main ideas behind most of his poems.
A Brief Guide to Misty Poets | Academy of American Poets. (n.d.). Retrieved November 20, 2015
The Answer by Bei Dao : The Poetry Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/180413