Quake's Artistic Aftershocks: Chengdu Poetry

Chengdu poet He Xiaozhu

Chengdu poet He Xiaozhu Andrea Hsu/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Andrea Hsu/NPR

Chengdu, China, is known as a city of writers — with an especially strong community of poets.

Last week's earthquake has already started filtering into local writers' works.

Here are two poems by Chengdu poets about the earthquake.

At the time of the earthquake, 45-year-old He Xiaozhu was working on a novel on the second floor of a teahouse in Chengdu.

'Elegy' by He Xiaozhu

Thousands upon thousands of anguished cries

Returning to silence and tranquillity

Heavenly acts cannot be predicted

The moon over Wenchuan

Still, a question mark

Aftershocks extend to Chengdu

Sorrow engulfs half the world

Tears turn to ice

Let candlelight melt them away

Children, climb on a dandelion

and line up for heaven

'Elegy' by He Xiaozhu i
'Elegy' by He Xiaozhu


Chengdu Poet Wu Qing

Chengdu Poet Wu Qing Qian Jin hide caption

itoggle caption Qian Jin


Chengdu poet Wu Qing, 29, was away in Shanghai when the earthquake struck. He is planning to return to Chengdu at the end of May.

'My Brothers Are in the Quake' by Wu Qing

Chengdu is nothing but earthquake

My brothers are in the earthquake

My friends are in the earthquake

My dog is in the earthquake, too

Liu Hui says, oh Brother

Life in the earthquake is terrible

But I am a thousand miles away

Where people are perfectly normal

Besides being worried

We feel a bit empty

'My Brothers Are in the Quake' by Wu Qing i
'My Brothers Are in the Quake' by Wu Qing

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