Li Bifeng 李必丰: In a Country Like This, We Can Only Hibernate

Li Bifeng,  a Chinese poet imprisoned for his article about a 1989 worker protest.  He got another twelve year prison sentence in 2012 apparently for helping another Chinese writer, Liao Yiwu flee into exile.  Li was arrested three months after Liao Yiwu left China for Germany.  His current prison sentence, now reduced to ten years, means that by the time he leaves prison he will have been a prisoner for twenty-two years.

Liao Yiwu in his foreword to Li Bifeng’s first novel, to be published in Germany during 2017, quotes a passage in which Li Bifeng describes a dream he had: “You are a bird, you have life, but there are other living things in this world as well. For example, the coal that we prisoners suffer so much to dig out of the ground. That too is life. Every time we dig up a piece of coal, we realize deep inside, that what we hold in our hands is not just a lump of coal, much more important is that it is a life. A life that has been buried underground in the darkness for very many years. A long time ago somebody asked me what it is that coal can burn. The reason is simple. That is only because after something has been imprisoned deep underground for a long time, that life can b by sending forth a tongue of burning fire prove its very existence to the world.”

In a Country Like This, We Can Only Hibernate

Li Bifeng

Winter came too soon
Our trees have started to wither
We no longer gave them fertilizer
And so our black hair by years of snow
Freezes slowly turning grey and white
Our skin cracking like the parched earth
Winter has come
We all love to sleep during the winter
Our hearts are tired
Our blood is tired
We sleep beneath the snows
In a country like this
We can only hibernate


李必丰长篇小说《天空的翅膀》德译即将2017在德国出版。住在德国中国作家(也曾经跟他坐牢的同难者)廖亦武在小说的前言引起李必丰的一个反应犯人的心情一个梦:

李必丰在小说中梦呓道:“你是鸟儿,你有生命,但是这世间别的东西也有生命。比如那些我们犯人千心万苦才从地下挖出来的煤炭,它们就有生命,每一次当我拿起一块煤炭时,我的心里就明白,我手里拿着的不仅只是煤炭,更重要的还在于它是一个生命,一个在地底的黑暗之中呆了上万年的生命。有人曾经问我为什么煤炭能够燃,其实这道理很简单,那不过是在黑暗之中囚禁了相当长的时间以后,一个可以发出火苗燃烧的生命向世界作出的证明。”

在這樣的國家,我們只有冬眠

image

李必豐獄中詩歌

冬季過早地來臨
我們的樹木開始乾
我們再也沒有養份去供養
於是我們的黑髮被歲月的雪
凍得漸漸斑白
我們的皮膚像龜裂的田野
冬季來了,
我們都愛冬眠
心臟累了,
血液累了
我們在雪底下冬眠
在這樣的國家
我們只有冬眠

 

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About 高大伟 David Cowhig

Worked 25 years as a US State Department Foreign Service Officer including ten years at US Embassy Beijing and US Consulate General Chengdu and four years as a China Analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Before State I translated Japanese and Chinese scientific and technical books and articles into English freelance for six years. Before that I taught English at Tunghai University in Taiwan for three years. And before that I worked two summers on Norwegian farms, milking cows and feeding chickens.
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