These paper boats of mine are meant to dance on the ripples of hours, and not reach any destination... Rabindranath Tagore

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past...F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby

We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.
On the way to the river are the old dormitories, used for something else now, with their fairy-tale turrets, painted white and gold and blue. When we think of the past it's the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like that.
--from Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale

Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul.
- Joyce Carol Oates

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Red Piano

The Red Piano (2008) - Andre LeBlanc
NOTE: This is based on a true story.
Andre interviewed Zhu Xiao-Mei in April 2007.
She is now a virtuoso pianist.

A camp
Lost between
Inner Mongolia
And China

Playing music
The only way to keep a child's senses

Just wired

She secures the notes on

Transportable testimony of

Far away
She will erase
Five years of

And play the music of



So far away....

The Red Piano Quotes
The Red Piano Begins


The Red PianoThe Red Piano by André LeBlanc
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Manual labour for children during China's Cultural Revolution was a time of abyssmal darkness for creativity. Just how dark and negative that time could be is demonstrated by The Red Piano. Unless of course, that child is Zhu Xiao-Mei, longing to find her voice playing the piano. Quietly she rebelled, determined to let her music be heard. How she rebelled evolves into a mesmerising, humbling story.

My poetic review is on my Songlines on the Winds blog.

View all my reviews

Linking to:
dVerse ~ Poetics ~ Beautiful Sadness
Poetry Pantry ~ Poets United


Brian Miller said...

exile has to be alone and cut off from your people....the song, the music adds a sadness to me that you can only find in music...esp in such isolation...nice

Claudia said...

so glad that she had the strength to rebel..and that she found her voice in this.. curious to read a bit more about her story..

Mary said...

I am glad that she will have freedom...someday! That is a beautiful thought.

Heaven said...

Lovely review...and I hope she finds the freedom to play someday ~

PhotoDiction said...

Striving to erase the invisibility - it's a struggle for so many in this world.

Kerry O'Connor said...

You have given the reader just enough to stir our interest in the book, and plenty more to think about. Thank you.

Ash Sharma said...

Beautiful review. The word red is aptly put.

Anonymous said...

It's the music- the music playing at the end that really elevated this. Because music has such depth of emotion, such nostalgia, is able to conjure up memory, both good and bad, - it is these elements that for me bring out the beautiful sadness in this piece. Thank you for sharing!

Susan said...

Far away
She will erase
Five years of

A moving poem about the losses of an era and one musician! The book looks wonderful. I did not know this history despite knowing a lot about the red guard and about Chinese theatre. Your poem compels me to look closer--I am so glad you posted it as a sad beauty.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

This story reminds me of the dvd From Mao to Mozart, when Perlman traveled to China and found a gap between age groups - he asked what had happened? it was the cultural revolution........when music was banned. Somehow, secretly, some kept the music alive. This looks like a movie right up my alley. Love your poem.

Poet Laundry said...

The hope in the darkness...truly beauty in the sadness. Love that you have shared of a piece of her story.

Kristjaan Panneman said...

Excellent post ... very emotional and touching.


Laura Maria said...

What an amazing story and poem!

Amy Pollard said...

Hi there! Please check out my new poetry blogzine and submit your best work:

Anonymous said...

The ability to play and the urge to listen to music during a time of exile and desolation is its own testimony of hope. Written words to carry and live on...another. Eloquent and beautiful!

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