Rebirth: Dedicated to Liu Xiaobo


Rebirth: Dedicated to Liu Xiaobo 

A river 

in the darkness 

within a river without beginning and without end

as if in a river where undercurrents churn in restless darkness

yet whose surface mourns in motionless silence 

your visage, missing for years, gradually becomes distinct

it seems nothing is left but a few bones 

yet it seems even those rough bones can utter sounds 

heard by everyone

except for the indifferent or those who pretend to be deaf— 

          the empty-hearted, the hypocrites, the executioners 

          who block their ears and refuse to listen 

yet when compared with the earlier movements of your lips

your bones that would rather break than bend

utter sounds even more resounding 

even more eternal


And I stand for a long time 

with my hands pressed together before my heart

seeming to see you in the distance 

on the surface of this far too silent river

drifting to the other shore 

drifting toward death

and toward rebirth

—Woeser, Beijing, late at night, July 13, 2017

(Translated by Ian Boyden)

This poem originally appeared on Invisible Tibet on July 16, 2017.

Constellations of Humanity

Each luminous dot on this map represents one reader of this poem. As the number of readers increases, the stars begin to cluster and form an increasingly detailed constellation. My intent is to show how brightly a poem glows across our world. I welcome your light.

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