Sunday, April 20, 2014

POEM: "To Lu Xun, From The Iron House"

To Lu Xun, From The Iron House


Locked inside the iron house
Seventeen others are snoring
There are no windows anywhere
No ventilation means we’re dying
(Getting sleepy too, I’ll lie down soon)
We have attempted the Big Breakout
We have filled our bodies with blood
We have hammered and screamed for it
It? I mean of course we went for our lives
Like threshing machines, no help for it
No one from outside came to our rescue
No friends, no lovers, no family came
Though at one point we imagined voices
Crying a strange word that sounded like KEEZ
Which we all stripped buck naked for 
Which we shook our dictionaries for 
Which we questioned the waiting children for
And we looked deep into each other’s eyes.


© 2013 Rob Schackne

1 comment:

  1. This refers to a famous metaphor of Lu Xun's, from the preface to his story collection "Call to Arms", in which he says of the turmoil of the early Republic:

    "Imagine an iron house without windows, absolutely indestructible, with many people fast asleep inside who will soon die of suffocation. But you know since they will die in their sleep, they will not feel the pain of death. Now if you cry aloud to wake a few of the lighter sleepers, making those unfortunate few suffer the agony of irrevocable death, do you think you are doing them a good turn?"

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