Feigheit und Angst

By cowardice I do not mean fear.  Fear is the response of the instinct of self preservation to danger.  It is only morbid, as Aristotle taught, when it is out of proportion to the degree of the danger.  In invincible fear– ‚fear stronger than I am‘– the soldier has to struggle with a flood of emotion; he is made that way.  But fear even when morbid is not cowardice.  That is a label we reserve for something that a man does. What passes through his mind is his own affair.

Lord Moran, The Anatomy of Courage

I Swallowed an Iron Moon

I swallowed an iron moon

they called it a screw


I swallowed industrial wastewater and unemployment forms

bent over machines, our youth died young


I swallowed labor, I swallowed poverty

swallowed pedestrian bridges, swallowed this rusted-out life


I can’t swallow any more

everything I swallowed roils up in my throat


I spread across my country

a poem of shame


Xu Lizhi