Within a Sea of Yellow | Teen Ink

Within a Sea of Yellow

October 6, 2021
By ray13575 SILVER, Troy, Michigan
ray13575 SILVER, Troy, Michigan
9 articles 21 photos 0 comments

They endure amidst billows of gas

on routes feet used to saunter,

raising as yellow umbrellas blossom. 

The promise of rubber firearms, 

not unlike viceroy butterflies fluttering

among their monarch counterparts,

metal bullets ricochet off crumbled walls.

Masks conceal boyish youth,

the point of no return is never known 

until retrospect. 

Trails of murky blood into 

a sea of crumpled umbrellas. 

Streets were once paths toward home--

now, tainted with pepper spray and water jets,

metamorphosed into a battlefield. 

Bauhinia, it's petals, 

created upon the flag

a sterile hybrid, like Hong Kong

infertility settles, stills.

Branded as rioters,

voices taken fugitive,

tears being silenced. 

How can caged birds fly,

when their wings are clipped?

1898 is the year of giving and trading.

A small fishing village reshaped 

into the center of international trade. 

Now, “Fragrant Harbor,” no longer tangible, 

rancid tear gas smothers lips. 

The world watches from afar,

history unraveling, recollecting 2019. 

Once more the Oriental Pearl

crushes into fine powder.

Fragile umbrellas snap. 

Shackles again,

bind back upon 

Hong Kong’s heart.

The author's comments:

Inspiration for this poem: 

This year, in the midst of a global pandemic, hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers flocked to the streets, protesting against a horrendous extradition bill passed by China. This bill only further emphasized the iron grip China held over Hong Kong. Enraged, Hong Kong citizens took to the streets, rallying with yellow umbrellas. What was once an everyday object used to shield Hong Kongers from the scorching sun, became not only a way to defend against pepper spray, but also a symbol of resistance. 

In this poem, I hope to capture the experiences my relatives in Hong Kong had to endure. I heard stories of armed police officers firing rubber and -live- bullets into crowds of protestors. I saw photos of tear gas engulfing students in the streets. Yet most importantly, I witnessed the beautiful city of Hong Kong lose its freedom.

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