Shanghai, a city of 25 million people, was under lockdown for two months in early 2022 under China’s stringent zero-Covid policy. The following poem, inspired by a widely circulated online video titled Sounds of April, was written to remember this historical event.
They say April is the cruellest month,
when cold winds from the north
empty the crowded city streets,
and shut millions of doors.
Concrete barriers and metal fences
keep hope out of reach.
The odour of despair
fills every inch of the city’s air.
Can you see the helpless look
of those with homes they can’t return?
Can you hear the devastated cries
of those taken away from their loved ones?
Shanghai, the heroic city,
your hearts are broken,
your tears run dry,
but you admit no defeat.
Birds fly high in the sky,
Green grass grows on the pavement,
Dandelions bloom along the barricades,
As long as life continues, there’s hope.
When thunders roar in the horizon,
when lightening brightens the night sky,
You know you will be reborn
like a phoenix from the fire.