Where Are The Birds Of Wenzhou, Bei Bei
Poem By David Lewis Paget
‘The skies are empty and grey at dawn,
They’re empty and brown at noon,
Where are the birds of Wenzhou, Bei Bei
Deep in the afternoon?
Even at dusk when the air is still
Or the cool breath heaves from the sea,
I wait for the beat of wings then, Bei Bei
Rushing to comfort me.’
‘The birds were once when the paddy fields
Ran down by the river tides,
When the sky was blue and the air was clean
And the trees reached up to the stars.
The birds were here when the skies were clear
No buildings blocked the view...’
‘But where are the birds of Wenzhou, Bei Bei
Why have they gone from you? ’
‘They left when the smog came rolling in
And the insects died on the ground,
When the grass turned white and the acid rain
Caused all the trees to drown.
They left when the river turned yellow mud
And the fields died under the road,
When men built towers of thirty floors,
They left the town in droves.’
The skies are empty and grey at dawn,
They’re empty and brown at noon.
‘The birds of Wenzhou took their nests
And travelled to old Hangzhou.
They went to live by a wondrous lake
That tales will tell, is blue...’
‘Where are the birds of Wenzhou, Bei Bei...
Have they forsaken you? ’
8 November 2005