From “Song of the Open Road” by Walt Whitman (Favorite Poem Project)


My name is Xu Xing, I come from Beijing, China. My occupation is free artist, filmmaker, and
writer. So in terms of fiction writing, the subject
matter that I deal with is quite wide, quite varied. But in terms of documentary film, the subject
matter is history, modern Chinese history. this poem I fell in love with when I was a
teenager and in fact it reminded me of a Tang poem by Wang Bo and in this poem although
the poem is quite different, but the spirit is the same. You asked me about my own experience
with this poem when I was a young teenager during the Cultural Revolution I was left
along at home my parents were being reeducated in the countryside and my brother and sisters we all sent away.
So I was on the road and I started to not believe in the propaganda
and for a person living in China at that time this was tremendously dangerous
so by not believing brought me a great catastrophe when I was fifteen. So the long and short of it is I fell in love
for the first time in my life and I wrote a love letter but instead of talking about
love I wanted to impress the girl so I talked about politics. I told her all about my my questioning of
the system and my own independent thinking. And she was so overwhelmed, she turned the
letter in to the teacher, without anybody knowing the teacher actually was a policeman
in his former life. So he immediately seized on this counter-revolutionary
letter and found out that I was the author. And I was arrested. How old were you? I was fifteen.

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