Question of Perspective
Question of Perspective
Nadine Godehardt

Two sessions – over, out

The place is empty covered in grey dust

Street lamps can only be anticipated

A square full of nothingness


Usually I visit this place only to stand

On one of the famous stones where

Every national anniversary soldiers

Salute to the Chinese leader


Then I freeze, take a deep breath

And try very hard to image myself

In a different China in a different time


This time at the end of the two sessions

I can only see thick clouds of heavy smog

Even the many extra national flags seem grey


Looking from the outside at what might

Happen inside – for a brief moment I feel

Like everybody else in this country


Like any Chinese, reading the papers

Glimpsing at the national black box

- Now widely covered in haze -

Only interrupted by infinitely-looping

Projections showing the Chinese dream


I cannot follow this dream –

Watching the empty space

My moment of closure is gone

Still I remain outside


Beijing – second home

What difference does it make?

Every time coming back it just

Feels like a second home now


A home that keeps on growing;

If, yes, if we can see it

Haze – officially – is covering it

These days mostly


However, it is not haze –

It is grey dust that reveals the

Black&white story of this city


You can’t breathe, you can’t feel,

And you can’t believe that there

Are white clouds in the metro tunnels


How can this still be a second home?

It is indeed! Looking West – it shows me

What we mostly have already forgotten

Development – a better life – it always

Comes with a price and still many are

Willing to pay for it


But – do I hear criticism, do I hear complaints,

Do I listen to the people and understand

That they are not happy?


Waiting in the tunnels knowing that every

Breath probably kills my lungs like

Smoking several packs of cigarettes a day –

One question pops up: how long is this still bearable?


My second home – I still like it

I can already feel the pain growing in my chest

When I sit in the plane back home…

However, breathing definitely gets

Much easier turning West

Second home – you do make a difference!


March 2013

Copyright Nadine Godehardt

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