Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Writer in a Time of Revolution

on Lu Xun (1881–1936)

His ailing father was China but the cure
was not Confucius whom the son threw out,
along with the physician. His father died
and, in another city, the meaning stood up
like a shadow on a wall, when he turned
into a street limned by electric lamps.
He led the shadow home and put to bed
the shade between the lines in Call to Arms.
There, the dead coughed into the porcelain throat
of the spittoon and called out in a red voice
to his sons black-suited, their queues cut off,
lovers of Huxley, Gogol, Shaw and Marx,
called out in a darkening voice for light.

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