On July 13 of last year, Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo died in Shenyang after years of persecution by the monolithic Communist Party he dared to oppose. Here are two poems, first by his widow Liu Xia dedicated to her husband:
Road to Darkness
Sooner or later you will leave
me, one day
and take the road to darkness
I pray for the moment to reappear
so I can see it better,
as if from memory.
I wish that I, astonished, would glow, my body
in full bloom of light for you.
But I can’t make it except
clenching my fists, not letting
not even a little bit of it, slip
through my fingers.
The following is a poem by Liu Xiaobo dedicated to his wife:
Between the gray walls
and a burst of chopping sounds,
morning comes, bundled and sliced,
and vanishes with the paralyzed souls
of the chopped vegetables.
Light and darkness pass through my pupils.
How do I know the difference?
Sitting in the rust, I can’t tell
if it’s the shine on the shackles in the jail
or the natural light of Nature
from outside the walls.
Daylight betrays everything, the splendid sun
Morning stretches and stretches in vain.
You are far away—
but not too far to collect the love
of my night.
Both poems appeared in the September 28, 2017 issue of The New York Review of Books.