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Wang Yu: To the Students at Tiananmen

May 26, 2004

Wang Yu

From the time you gathered at Tiananmen
Our daylight dissolved into your midnight
To become a white night enmeshed in nightmares
As twilight descended upon your shoulders
Dawn’s light slowly ascended
Our terrified eyes
Irrepressible cries of horror
As yet another white night arrived

We lived in
A nightmare between
The eastern and western hemispheres
Between one night and the next and one dream and the next
The direction shifted
And crisis concealed itself beside you
From the first it was a group of you
Betraying yourselves
Youth of China
History bowed its head in shame
The badge of revolution rusted
And warped
A thief’s cunning
A butcher’s treachery

We glued our eyes to the news
On the glittering screen
In the newspaper
We joined our hearts to your bodies

The white night scorched us
At some unknown time

The troops appeared
And shouted with rage—
Your echo
Resounded across the globe
You were our hope
China’s future
In the heart of the motherland
With youth you attacked
Withered arteries
And transplanted them with living
Democracy and freedom
In May 1989
The world watched you in hope
Youth of China
As you shed your light on the darkness
And lit a lantern in the heart of the motherland

Where darkness transited into white night
Hope battled despair
Blind to the tanks
Blind to recklessness

Have no fear that someone will oppose the future
An eternally unobstructable willpower
Is passed from one generation to the next
Youth of China
Marching heroically toward
The breach of dawn.

Composed June 3, 1989
Published June 24, 1989 in Wen Wei Po (Hong Kong)

Translated by Stacy Mosher