SPP: Qiu Jin

The following two poems were written by Qiu Jin. Qiu Jin, was a Chinese woman and activist. She was executed at the age of 32. Some sites list her birthdate as Nov. 8, 1875. Tomorrow is Nov. 8th, so in honor of Qiu Jin, an inspirational female heroine, I am sharing two pieces of her poetry that I really enjoy.

The sun and moon lusterless, heaven and earth grow dark.
Submerged womankind—who will rescue them?
Barrette and bracelet pawned to travel across the sea,
Parting from kith and kin, I left my homeland.
Freeing my bound feet, I washed away the poison of a thousand years,
And, with agitated heart, awakened the souls of all the flowers.
Alas, I have only a binding cloth woven of mermaid's silk,
Half stained with blood, half with tears.

Don't tell me women
are not the stuff of heroes,
I alone rode over the East Sea's
winds for ten thousand leagues.
My poetic thoughts ever expand,
like a sail between ocean and heaven.
I dreamed of your three islands,
all gems, all dazzling with moonlight.
I grieve to think of the bronze camels,
guardians of China, lost in thorns.
Ashamed, I have done nothing;
not one victory to my name.
I simply make my war horse sweat.
Grieving over my native land
hurts my heart. So tell me;
how can I spend these days here?
A guest enjoying your spring winds?

Nita Michelle

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