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Sunday, November 13, 2011

I'm your lifelong prisoner, my love like a baby loath to be born

'Your Lifelong Prisoner' – Liu Xiaobo's poem from prison

New book by the jailed dissident and Nobel peace prizewinner contains a moving tribute to his wife, the poet Liu Xia
Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo (L) and his wife Liu Xia
Liu Xiaobo and his wife, the poet Liu Xia, in 2002. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
Liu Xiaobo

The Observer, Sat 12 Nov 2011 20.00 GMT

To Xia
My dear,
I'll never give up the struggle for freedom from the oppressors'
jail, but I'll be your willing prisoner for life.
I'm your lifelong prisoner, my love
I want to live in your dark insides
surviving on the dregs in your blood
inspired by the flow of your estrogen
I hear your constant heartbeat
drop by drop, like melted snow from a mountain stream
if I were a stubborn, million-year rock
you'd bore right through me
drop by drop
day and night
Inside you
I grope in the dark
and use the wine you've drunk
to write poems looking for you
I plead like a deaf man begging for sound
Let the dance of love intoxicate your body
I always feel
your lungs rise and fall when you smoke
in an amazing rhythm
you exhale my toxins
I inhale fresh air to nourish my soul
I'm your lifelong prisoner, my love
like a baby loath to be born
clinging to your warm uterus
you provide all my oxygen
all my serenity
A baby prisoner
in the depths of your being
unafraid of alcohol and nicotine
the poisons of your loneliness
I need your poisons
need them too much
Maybe as your prisoner
I'll never see the light of day
but I believe
darkness is my destiny
inside you
all is well
The glitter of the outside world
scares me
exhausts me
I focus on
your darkness –
simple and impenetrable
Reprinted by permission of Harvard University Press from No Enemies, No Hatred: Selected Essays and Poems by Xiaobo Liu. Copyright © 2012 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.

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