Bei Dao (1949-), meaning "Northern Island" literally, is the pseudonym of Chinese modern poet Zhao Zhenkai, who became in the 1970s the poetic voice of his generation. Bei Dao gained first international acclaim with the poem 'Answer,' which was published in the official poetry journal Shi Kan (Poetry Monthly) in 1980. 'I don't believe the sky is blue; / I don't believe in thunder's echoes; / I don't believe that dreams are false; / I don't believe that death has no revenge." (from 'The Answer') Bei Dao's tone was defiant and especially the last lines from 'Notes on the Coty of the Sun,' have been often quoted as representing the disillusionment of his generation.

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In the kitchen washing my hands
soapy water runs down the drain
like a French horn’s

the bride waves goodbye
to the canal of keeping dates
who is the white-haired witness
going upstream?

a group photo with the sun
half my face covered
the other half daylight
in the windless solitude

in the rivers and lakes fish forget one another
the night creates a momentary god
bats in the eyes of drug addicts
destroy themselves in passion

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