I’m glad to say that I have permission from J. Patrick Lewis, Jane Yolen, and Marilyn Singer to post the poems I described from their books. I’ll do one a day for the next three days. Sadly all three books are out of print.
From HEROES AND SHE-ROES by J. Patrick Lewis, published in 2005 by Dial. Posted by permission of the author.
THE UNKNOWN REBEL
Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China
June 5, 1989
The rulers were in hiding,
The day darkened with shame.
The Square would flood with students’ blood
Till a man without a name
Appeared from out of nowhere
With nothing on his mind
But to stop the clank of a Chinese tank
That rattled humankind.
Suppose we call him Courage,
The symbol of a cut above,
The One Who Stood Alone.
(c) J. Patrick Lewis, all rights reserved
Pat chose the narrative voice in three regular ballad stanzas to remind us of the courageous young man who, in 1989, walked into Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China and faced a tank that was grinding across the square in a demonstration of the government’s might. The young man was pulled to safety and his fate is unknown. But his act, and Pat’s poem, remind us of our “defiance-to-the-bone” need to be free.