Tian’s best friend and de facto sister, Wang Jing, did us the honor of reading excerpts from the Chinese poem 致橡树 by 舒婷 (“To The Oak Tree” by Shu Ting). It was written by a female farmer and factory worker turned professional poet during the period immediately after the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
To The Oak Tree – Shu Ting
I must be a Ceiba tree by your side
Standing together with you
Our roots tightly intertwined beneath the earth
Our leaves gently touching in the clouds.
As each breeze passes
We nod in greeting to each other
But no one can understand our special words.
You have your strong trunk and branches
Like a knife, a sword, a halberd.
I have my ample red flowers like brilliant torches.
Together we share cold waves,
Thunderstorms, and lightning bolts.
Together we share refreshing mists
And glowing rainbows.
We seem always separate
But in fact we are forever connected and rely on each other.
Such is a great love.
Not only your manly body do I love
But also the place you hold
The earth under your feet.