After the Disaster
The stars never rise
but I see the eyes are white.
Nights are black,
but hearts are bright.
The disaster destroyed where we live
but not what we believe.
Stop shedding tears about the stars,
or you will miss the sun.
You will see if you open your eyes:
The sun also rises!
By Xinxin (Daisy) Liang
Lian"梁"(Liang) is her family name, and "歆歆"(Xinxin) is her given name."歆" is an ancient Chinese character, seldom used nowadays, meaning "to admire, to be happy." Daisy is her Western name, and her full Chinee name is 梁歆歆
The time: the Monday following the catastrophic earthquake in China.
Daisy's choice: "The stars never rise but I see the bright eyes" from Edgar Allan Poe's "Annabel Lee."
The assignment: to write a poem using as a first line a line of your choice from "The Oxford Cento of American Poetry," a poem you, an English major in China, are hearing for the first time. "The Oxford Cento" was published in the New York Times Book Review on the April 2, 2006.
You have fifteen minutes.