China’s Profit

This was written two or three years ago – after the first interest in a new country had faded and the despairs and distress evident in its hugely capitalistic expansion become more and more visible. This week the artist Ai Wei Wei has written an article in Newsweek. I have been fascinated by him for several years, since a friend Hua Wei Fen gave me the chinese name Ai Qing, 艾 青 , because, she said,  “I am a poet who thinks about people”. I was too ignorant to understand this name or its significance at the time, but I later discovered that I had adopted a name that belongs to a real chinese poet from the 1940’s 50’s – Ai Wei Wei’s father.


All the tea in China

Could not begin to bring this country rest.

The ceremony turns its face

to greedy tourists

thinking the leaf picked at midnight

under a full moon

by virgins

Will taste better than the one

steeped in bitter envious discontent.

Certainly, it costs more.


Sometime I must put some of Ai Qing’s poetry up somewhere – in the meantime read an obituary.


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