Shanghai New Year - Poem by Laurie Van der Hart

What did we come for?
Crowds to the Bund
of Chen-Yi Square
We wanted to see, of course
The legend with our own eyes
The beauty of the colorful lights
Of modern skyscrapers
Shimmering in the waters
Of the Huangpu River
Bursts of bright lights
In showers of fireworks
Shooting up high
Lighting up the midnight sky
Whoosh, pheeeew,
Ka-boom, ka-bam
Wakka wakka wakka
And make a wish, of course
For good fortune
In the New Year
Maybe this one will be good

But for some the New Year
never came

So near and yet...
It did not

At first
A peaceful promenade
Then rising
Expectation
For the spectacle to begin
'I WANT TO SEE! '
See our wide eyes
Our gaping mouths
Our awe and adulation
To the point of
Desperation
To get
A good view
'LET ME SEE! '
Then
Panic
Madness and mayhem
'Don't rush! '
People said
But we could not
Control the insanity
A river of humanity
Pushing
Surging
Screaming
Sh outing
Squeezing
Falling
Row upon row of people
Trampled
Crushed
Devastation
We came
We saw
We...
Oh God!
What have we done?

We came to see the lights
But instead we saw darkness
The darkness of the shadow
Of death
In all its starkness
We saw
The realisation
That the lights are
An illusion
The showy display
Just a momentary flash
That hides
The reality
Of who
We are
And the vanity
Of what
We are seeking

Poems by Laurie Van der Hart

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