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Esperanza’s World – Cicada Center – Weep No More Poem

Esperanza’s World – Cicada Center – Weep No More Poem

Activities / Teacher Resources


They come from everywhere
From the early summer hills
And the lush bamboo groves
Cicadas sing their old summer songs
Amidst the thick air of ominous June

Red peony sky hangs over the Eastern Gate
Aging dynasty clings to its blood-stained throne
China, history is shouting
Your chest is aflame
Your mournful children are awakening

They come from everywhere
From the rugged Silk Roads
Across the Yellow River
Like a whirlwind sweeps across the tethered terrain
Here, on Tiananmen Square
Young dragons are gathering
Their eyes spark an iron will

In the garden of summer palace
Cicadas sing their old summer songs
Willow trees, swaying listlessly
Under the totalitarian clouds

Look, all the campus lights are dimmed
Crowded dorms emptied
No one studies in the library anymore
Where have all my comrades gone?
A generation, the nations’ best
Is prepared to fight for democracy

By the Goddess of Liberty
Voices for human rights escalate
Classes are held under the starlight
The square becomes a school for democracy and
A people’s republic is flourished

Arms link with arms
Waves of human barricades propel forward
With their bare torsos to meet the guns
China, can’t you hear your ghosts are coming back
To claim their living rights

No longer do I fear the dark night
No more thesis to write
No more cadre meetings
Mother, do not wait for me either
I won’t be home for dinner tonight
Not before my aims are met

My belly is filled with rage
Sixty years of indignation
Our education, infested with propagandas
Our knowledge, but a twisted truth
A life denied of free expressions
Tamed and broken like a circus animal
Made to serve a hostile party called comrades
Once promised a classless revolution
No more, no more, no more!

Cicadas, your wings are trembling
In the land of oppression and persecution
Our conscience are crushed
Eyes, ears and mouths
Our natural senses are censored
Only a sigh from silence faces lives on

Revolution or execution
Who can now shut his eyes
Daughters of solidarity
You have pledged
With firm fists to declare
The only resolution

Who says freedom is inconceivable?

From the northern frontier
A reign of terror rises like apocalyptic clouds
In darkness, militant forces are encroaching
The People’s Liberation Army
Turns its weapons against its own people
With tanks and trucks to crush the young flesh of hope

High above the stricken city hides a pale moon
Red rivers spill into the sleeping alleys
With no time to bid farewell
Our children are left to bleed
So young, eager for life
Under the lightning of firing bullets
They swallowed their last breaths

Before twilight
Our sons and daughters
Were drenched in blood
They lay motionless
Eyes were still open

Mothers, do not wait for them anymore
Out of their scattered limbs
An immutable race is born
To take back the laws from
A party with hearts-of-stones
Once seized its power
In the name of revolution

Our bodies have been beaten
Our lives, imprisoned
But our voices shall not be silenced
As millions more are joining in

The impatient history shall be our witness

Weep no more, cicadas
Though the hills stridulate in mourning
Forsythias are still blooming
Red peony sky hangs over the eastern gate
As red as the flames of a new revolution

China, can’t you see
Your defiant children are united
The black sun of June
Once draped over the murdered
Must break open into a brilliant sky
Like lungs for air, hearts for hope
Towards freedom!

June 1989

This poem is an elegy for those who were killed at Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989 and is dedicated to their mothers.

Acknowledgement: The photos were from various documentary films on the Tiananmen Square massacre, intended as a memorial.