Douglas Gilbert asks, “Who would be Chen Guang?”

Who Would Be Chen Guang For the Glory of Silent China?

The commanders thought
such an easy thing
to get a grip on
a protester’s ponytail, to
pull the head of a fool
who would erect
a papier-mâché statue
the Goddess of Democracy
like an empty French gesture
to the tired, to the poor,
Chinese June 4th, a July 4th in effigy
the Lady in the harbor of New York
far from Beijing or Henan Province
endless time from

many deaths to victory
many revolutions
executions from 1776

But how the propagandists
are so skillful, nuclear
so artful in calligraphy
with the ponytail brush dipped in blood.

Tiananmen Square
is forgotten for the convenience
of iron ore in Australia
and in Burma
to make the steel
of prison bars for
Tiananmen Square
and for amnesia
—Douglas Gilbert
Ref: New York Times, June 4, 2009, pp.1, A12, “Tiananmen Square Scars Soldier Turned Artist” by Andrew Jacobs.

Books by Douglas Gilbert


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