Selected sonnets from A Phoenix Movement



I was born in an ancient village, more than a thousand years old, called Shimen Village, in Zhenghe county, Fujian province, on the China mainland. I still remember when I was a young boy; the village was so beautiful that it was just like the Peach Garden, written by Tao Yuanming, a great poet from the Wei Jin Dynasty. There were green forests, clear brooks, beautiful fish, all kinds of wildflowers, fruit and singing birds. But now the village has been damaged. I can no longer see fish in the brooks and people are not kind as before. They’re so eager to make money that they have destroyed the traditional yellow adobe buildings, the woods, and the cobblestone paths.

I hope my verses can record history for the future. I hope my verses can awaken our good conscience so that we have mercy and love others, and don’t enslave or kill. I hope my verses can tell the innocent public not to mindlessly follow others but to think independently. And I sincerely hope life will become more peaceful and lovely for people all around the world.

—SmBirdman, Jan 11th, 2020

Sonnet III: On this great land

On this great land, in the fabulous spring,
All kinds of thoughts great people bring.
All kinds of beautiful flowers are blooming,
Once a Tsar appears, spring will be glooming.

People can’t use the words, unique for the king.
How can they happily play and freely sing?
There are lots of harmonious words to be found;
There are people like ants, living on the ground.

They have no wings to fly, but just wait to die,
Don’t know how to think, but it’s easy to trust those lies.
They try their best to go after money and power;
They have no words to praise a beautiful flower.

Most people just exist, whether short or tall;
After all, to live is the rarest thing, that’s all.

Sonnet IV: To the harmonious world

It’s so harmonious, 404 not found,
Google, get out; Baidu, all around.
WeiBo, delete whatever they dislike.
Replace the voices, and close the mike.

Where are Twitter and Facebook?
Over the Wall, it’s illegal to have a look.
Free people are parading on lunar May
At Xiang River; it’s a harmony heyday.

On this great mainland, it’s a heyday,
No word but His Majesty I can say.
I say, free people are living in fear,
But singing a free song, Do You Hear?

I’m sure that my verses shall stand, and
Record history, despite his cruel hand.

Sonnet V: Don’t you hear the people sing

Don’t you hear the people sing?
They’re singing a free song;
Stand up, we don’t need a king,
Willing to be enslaved no longer.

Don’t you see the students scared,
Sitting on the big square ground?
They refused to eat to fight for what’s fair,
Justice and right, polite and bound.

Don’t you see millions of people,
Who’re parading on the Hong Kong street.
Red terrorism they want to topple,
Refuse to compromise if not meet.

You’re the elites in this heyday;
This is all I can obscurely say.

Sonnet LXIII: To the youth of Hong Kong

You are too young, simple and naive.
You really don’t know our great history.
You have acted as puppets but do not live;
You will be a part of this ridiculous story.

You can fight for your own freedom,
But not for Hong Kong’s independence.
You can emigrate to the United Kingdom,
But can’t create chaos through violence.

For a long time, no one will be respected,
Who has betrayed his or her motherland.
You are our great future as is to be expected,
Why not use your head together with your hand?

Oh, dear youths, please don’t be silly;
You and your passion ought to be lily.

Sonnet LXIV: To Be a free man

I really don’t need such a great leader,
A leader has nothing to do with me.
I really need an excellent computer.
A computer lets me know what the world will be.

I sincerely hope the world will be run by a computer,
Who is extremely efficient and selfless.
Everyone will be treated fairly without a leader,
Who is usually greedy and shameless.

A leader really makes me live in fright,
But a computer is quite like a telescope.
One lies, makes me slave day and night;
Another makes me wise, and lets me live in hope

Without a leader the world would be better;
Here I just represent myself and write this letter.

Sonnet LXX: To the lords

Alas, so much they crave,
They eat Tegong food.
They ought to go to their grave;
They are of capricious mood.

They drink our blood.
They drain our sweat.
They are a fiery flood.
They are our threat.

They rob our wealth.
They take away chance.
They damage our health.
They have free insurance.

They oppress us to live in fear,
Our voices they don’t care to hear.

Sonnet LXXVI: To the dictator

Great, great, forever great,
Any query is an illegal threat.
Nowhere is without his name,
And his words without shame.

Glory, glory, forever glory,
History is a man eating story.
Textbooks always lie to the youth,
The public never knows the truth.

Right, right, forever right,
A great wall was built at night.
Fake news is the best food
To fool people, that evil is good.

He dreams to like as before;
No more, oh, never more.

Sonnet LXXXIII: He it is

He it is, the greatest ideological Doctor,
He it is, the greatest man at present.
He it is, the greatest truth of a dictator,
He it is, smarter than any president.

He it is, who reads so many great books,
He it is, who makes speeches by reading.
He it is, his thoughts like restless brooks,
He it is, his greatness like sunlight spreading.

He it is, who accepts that great people sing,
He it is, who is born with a great red birth.
He it is, who dreams of being a great king.
He it is, who wants to rescue the earth.

He it is, the greatest dream of victory.
He it is, the greatest pupil in history.

Sonnet LXXXIV: To my verses

To criticize is the greatest part of poetry’s life.
For justice we ought to restlessly seek out strife.
To praise is one of those soft bone jobs;
In fact, most elites are groups of mobs.

As I know, nowadays no man is good,
Especially those who eat Tegong food.
As I know, most men aren’t too bad,
After all, we seem to be kind but not mad.

How much I suffer the overwhelming pain,
How much anger I have been forced to gain.
The words become songs through my poetic heart,
The words record the history in literary art.

Oh, poor elites, please read my verses at leisure;
Not to blame them with strong spirit pressure.

Sonnet LXXXVII: I want thee, only thee

I want thee, only thee,
Don’t you ever see?
If you also love me,
The world will be free.

I want thee, only thee,
As a flower to the bee.
Don’t you ever see
How sweet your smile can be?

I want thee, only thee,
Why not kindly tell me.
But fly hard with him,
Leave me as a refugee.

I want thee, only thee;
If you love me, we’re free.

Sonnet XCI: Google, Twitter And Facebook, 404 Not Found

Google, Twitter and Facebook: 404 not found.
Baidu, the New Great Firewall: everywhere around.
How harmonious! It always seems so sound;
How ridiculous! It’s really an evil compound.

Oh, do I really have no choice but to follow its will?
No, the so-called great country is absolutely ill.
Every day, every night, people have to take this pill,
And they have to, they’ll have to pay the bill.

Around the Yangtze river, let’s have a look;
Polluted water is in almost every brook.
People are so greedy, by hook or by crook,
I’m so sad, so angry to write such a book.

In the universe, each of us is just like a tiny grain of sand;
Remember to free yourself is to free this great land.

About the author

Fan Qiang, who goes by the pseudonym SmBirdman, graduated from China Pharmaceutical University in 2004 and earned his Master’s Degree in Microbiology and Biochemistry Pharmacy. He has worked for Novartis, Johnson and Johnson, etc. He now lives in Hangzhou city as a great free poet and an independent scholar. His first neoclassical collection of poems, The Xiaoya Of West Lake (ISBN-13: 978-1631816390), was published by the American Academic Press in North America in September, 2019.

2 thoughts on “Selected sonnets from A Phoenix Movement”

  1. Dear Joey, Thank you so much for your great job, and I hope readers like them, at least one of them so that you can have some feeling about China even you didn’t visit it.


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