Poetry in the Cultural Revolution
Soldiers stormed in, ripping doors
and cabinets open like wounds.
I clung to mother's leg
as they pried up planks
for signs of treachery: books.
Hadn't neighbors seen shelves of poetry
stacked from floor to ceiling?
Where were they?
Father was dragged away
as neighbors watched,
covering their ears, hurrying off
when Mother tried to speak to them.
There were rumors that Father
played piano in his youth, booming out
His list of treacheries grew: the name
of Li Po rolling like a grenade
into our house one morning.
Mother disappeared. Hadn't she led
children in singing poems? Wasn't poetry
as dangerous as temples?
I joined a stage group, where I drew
my biggest applause denouncing
my parents as counter revolutionaries,
citing how my father wrote poems
the way a traitor makes bombsó
at night, alone.
By Bob BradshawQLRS Vol. 19 No. 4 Oct 2020