Category Archives: June 4th Commemoration

Romi Jain: Remembering Tiananmen Square

How stunning is human history:
Events sometimes
Take place in the lap of locations
They contradict.
It happened on June 4, 1989.
In the precincts of Tiananmen Square,
Unarmed protestors met with massacre:
The “gate of heavenly peace” became an orb of slain urges to Freedom;
Chang’an Avenue-“eternal peace street”-
Stupefied stood.
A square shed ordinariness of the unison of four sides
When the Goddess of Democracy incarnated in a statue;
A multitude of students broke out of dormancy
To challenge state-ordained ideology,
Reflecting the spirit of Paulo Freire’s critical pedagogy,
Questioning the ‘culture of silence’
Remembering the dear Hu Yaobang,
They shouted the slogan of their cherished desire:
Long live democracy!
The movement grew sturdier
When a million people marched through streets
Clamoring for liberty, for freedom of speech,
For elimination of corruption;
The hunger for democracy outshone
The hunger of stomach
When a protester passed by
With a poster stuck on his back:
“I need food,
But I would rather die for democracy”
The peacefulness of protests was thorny
To the regime that controlled
The wind of the State, such that
No bud was allowed to grow
Without checking the pollens.
Tyrannical onslaughts ensued
With the declaration of martial law;
Like hungry tigers, tanks and guns were let loose.
Civilians pleaded with the soldiers:
“Don’t do that…would you kill your own people?”
Unheeding, the troops brought down the barricades
Put up in defense of unarmed protesters.
Like ferocious wheels of a crushing crane, the tanks
Kept proceeding, trampling on defenseless demonstrators.
AK 47 rifles were triggered.
Heaps of bodies
Bathing in their own blood lay in streets,
In Tiananmen Square, with dead dreams.
Their desire for liberation from authoritarianism
Had been suppressed
With liberation from lives.
Tiananmen Square is quiet today.
The Tank Man who caught the world attention
By halting the powerful tanks for brief moments
Through his valiant, peaceful defiance,
Lies somewhere—alive or dead—in the debris
Of history
That the authorities desperately keep burying
Until it is forgotten, once for all.
The souls of the perished youths roam around
Tiananmen Square,
Asking visitors: “do you remember us?”
Not getting a response, they aver:
“When democracy arrives, we shall rise;
You’ll recognize!


South Carolina State College
Orangeburg, South Carolina, 1968
Tlatelolco Square, Mexico City, 1968
Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China, 1989
Nothing forced those kids
to go out there.
Nothing made them insist on
their foolish demands.

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Maningning Miclat: After June Four

some cards
from Bejing where
I used to stay. Continue reading

Cindy Lapeña: tiananmen square revisited

i was not there in tiananmen square
not in nineteen hundred and eighty nine
i remember
a huge square
and huge square buildings
and a long red wall
with a portrait of mao
i remember a monolith
a statue
(maybe it was somewhere else?)

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Michael Allyn Wells: Tiananmen Mother

—for Zhao Ziyang
The Beijing breeze whispers
mournful strophes.
Tears like the mountain rains
follow slopes

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Louise Leger: The Tank Man

The students stood at Tiananmen Square
That’s where they went to fight for public gain
The government said they must get out of there
The people stood their ground and so were slain Continue reading

Elizabeth Spencer Spragins: Tiananmen Square (A Clogyrnach)

Youthful zeal fans sparks of unrest
To flames as the jaded protest.
They throng to the square
To challenge the chair
With a stare
To the West.

Unarmed, undeterred, they dare bring
To light fervent hopes for the spring.
The peaceful crusade
Designed to persuade
Draws the blade
Of Beijing. Continue reading


The chill of death came swiftly
To the flowers of youth that morn
But the seed will last forever
From the slaughter, hope is born.
A world watched in horror
As their lifeblood flowed that day
The memories of courage
Will never fade away.
Soldiers, tanks and bullets
Cannot eclipse their roles
They may burn the students’ bodies
But they cannot destroy their souls.

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