31 October, 2013
The Liberal Art University in Hong Kong
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Mr Chris Song, Research Development Officer of the Centre for Humanities Research, has won an Extraordinary Mention of the 2013 Nosside International Poetry Award (Italy).

Mr Song’s poem Rifle and Lily was written in memory of his grandfather, who fought during the Second World War, and expresses his conflicting emotions about him. It also exposes how retired soldiers like his grandfather were unfairly treated in contemporary China. Mr Song was the poet-in-residence at Bundanon, New South Wales, Australia in 2010 and 2011. He has published two English-Chinese bilingual collections of poetry, the latest being Strolling (2010). He has also translated more than 20 volumes of poetry.

The Nosside International Poetry Award was established in 1984 in Italy and is listed in the UNESCO World Poetry Directory. It is a poetry award open to unpublished poem in or translated into any of the following five languages: English, Italian, French, German and Portuguese.

Rifle and Lily

(for my grandfather, a soldier of the Second World War)

the bullet between tibia and fibula hasn’t been picked out
but hidden pain has been long forgotten. who is the hero?
you’re now burnt bones buried in front of us, the bullet gone

your fellow soldiers mistaken for beggars
noseless and lipless you sniffed and sneered. I heard.
beacons shrink to nerves of dirt, and pains crawl in the ragged tin
who is the hero? accidental coins ring and ring in the tin. I heard.

you rubbed away the red flags on the badges with the finger
that pulled the trigger. you put the badges in a wooden box
you stored up moonlight in the dark. but flood surged up the horizon
pale dawn light submerged your gunshot of memory. I heard.

we have become the enemy you once fired into
we heard the trumpet of a hundred years ago
we saw hexagonal flares of machine guns flowering in the dark
shooting naked women soldiers wearing heavy make-up
in TV shows, who is the hero?

we were shot and fell down to the trench like an ink river
after a hundred years we are reborn in snowflakes. I heard.
the hollow world you once stuffed with your flesh and blood –
a leaking accordion finds himself satisfaction
from prostitutes’ pretended groans. pallets come together
break apart. all anthems out of tune. I heard.

I come to your grave, as if clenching your rifle to my heart
and let you shoot out that bullet between tibia and fibula
and let the rifle be reborn in an accidental discharge
and let me hear my death offer up a lily