In Memory of Luofu by Weihai Bay
Art Exchange VOL.Art Exchange|Zhang Jianling


  Luofu has passed away!

  On March 19th last year, I received the news from a friend on the high-speed rail to Jinan, a bit worried and overwhelmed. A closer look helped to clarify the fact that it was my friend who got the message from Mrs. Luo Qiongfang, Luofu's wife, I believed the news eventually. The world's master of Chinese poetry, a great master of literature, Luofu has passed away at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital at 3:21AM on that day.The scenery outside the window has turned blurred, filling my eyes.

  Luofu is gone, really, and will never come again. The rendezvous for July 2017 is gone, forever. 

  The poet is gone, the "poetry icon" is gone, but the poems are still there, and so are his smiles and voices. 

  Luo Fu, whose real name is Mo Luofu, is one of the most famous modern poets in China, one of the "three great masters" in Taiwanese poetry. More than 90 years ago, Luofu was born in Hengyang, Hunan. He left for Taiwan in 1949 and migrated to Canada in 1996. Since then, he has been drifting between the mainland, Taipei and Canada. In 1954, Luo Fu, Zhang Mo and Ya Xian co-founded the Genesispoetry magazine and served as the editor-in-chief for many years, publishing a collection of poems, The Death of the Stone Chamber, The River Without the Shore, The Magic Song, Seen by the Rearview Mirror","Time Injury","Floating Wood","Outside the Smoke", "Manuscript of Luofu Poetry","Complete Works of Luofu" etc. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001 for his long poem "Floating Wood".

  Luofu has been passionate about the traditional culture of his motherland throughout his life, insisting on innovation in his creation and developing a unique and individual style of freedom and diversity. Due to his surreal expression in his early poetry, featuring a magical color, he was praised as a "poetry icon" by the poetry circle. As a writer who devoted great contributions to contemporary Chinese poetry, Luofu has been committed to the cultural exchanges between the two sides of the Straits, especially a number of places in the mainland for a long time. In addition to the capital Beijing and his hometown Hengyang, he often visited Shanghai, Guangzhou, Yangzhou and other places to meet poets and friends, forming a deep friendship with the mainland poetry.

  In the summer of 2017, Luofu and his wife came to Weihai for a cultural journey. It was his first trip of such kind after he had been seriously sick.

  Weihai, as the old battlefield of the China-Japan War of 1894, one of the Seven Sons from the poem Song of Seven Sons by Mr. Wen Yiduo, has always been a "selfretained land" in the poetic heart of Luofu, and the eternal wonderland in the poet’s heart. More than a decade ago, poetry researchers at a university in Weiwei had the intention of inviting Luofu to Weihai. However, it has not been fulfilled for some reasons. This time, the poet made the connection with Weihai Federation of Literary and Art Circles via friend's introduction, and reached the intention of his tour of culture. Through joint efforts, the Federation of Literary and Art Circles and the Taiwan Affairs Office of the Municipality and the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the city had worked together to make meticulous preparations for the specific arrangements of the trip. This trip to Weihai realized the long-cherished wish of the poet.Although it was quite hot in Weihai in July, there was more rare coolness at this particular season. Luofu and his wife Luo Qiongfang came to Weihai from Beijing by plane. Originally we planned to let the 90-year-old poet take a break and meet again in the evening, but he had held a strong interest and discussed with us cheerfully just after arriving in the city. In accordance with the wishes of the poet, I just met with him in my room and talked with great pleasure, like a pair of old friends without differences in age, geographical distance and culture. We talked about poetry, our connection, local customs, the great changes of the motherland and the lonely suffering of Taiwan island, also including the past and present of Weihai, experiencing special harmony with each other, "in each other's heart already".

  On the next day, I accompanied Luofu to visit the island of Liugong. It is a small island, independent from the Weihai Bay. It seems to be most ordinary, but it actually carries the shame history of the Chinese nation and the indomitable struggle history of the country. Just like the slogan of the island nowadays - "Liugong, Not Just an Island!" As the seat of the Beiyang Navy's Admiral's Office, Liugong Island was once the dream land of Asia's most powerful navy. With the rumble of guns and cannons in 1894, the Beiyang Navy was completely destroyed, and the island became a land of broken dreams. In 1895, the Treaty of Shimonoseki was signed, the island of Taiwan was ceded, and the beautiful and prosperous, and the troubled island of the nation once again fell into hands of the enemy.

  On the boat heading for Liugong Island, Luofu, while listening with great interest about the origin of the island and the passage of the 1894 naval battle with great interest, searched the information and reviewed his memory, and kept saying in his mouth. : "It's almost like what I know!"

  Boarded on Liugong Island, Luofu first came to the 1894 Sea Battle Hall by taking the wheelchair under the care of friends. He listened carefully to the commentator who explained the history of the China-Japan War, and while visiting the pavilion one after the other, the poet gave it a thought with a solemn and serious expression. The huge waves in the poet's heart were faintly visible from his expression.

  Reaching the square in front of the Beiyang Navy's Admiralty (now the China-Japan War Museum), Luofu looked up at the gate of the Admiralty on the high stone steps. Because the barrier-free access to the Admiralty's Office was being upgraded and rebuilt, impossible to pass, and the poet was unable to walk on the climbing steps, everyone of us wanted to join forces to lift him up in the wheelchair, but he refused, and we had to give up and let him take a tour outside the complex.

  In addition to poetry creation, Luofu is also obsessed with calligraphy art. After more than 30 years of hard work, he has formed his own unique style. He was not only keen on tablet inscriptions of the Northern Dynasties and the official script of the Han Dynasty, his cursive handwriting was more dynamic esteem. Through the door opened at the Admiralty's Office, you can see the huge plaque in front of the meeting hall writing four characters as "Wei Zhen Hai Jiang". Luofu said: "'Wei Zhen Hai Jiang' is good, Weihai is just for it!" When learning that the four characters was chosen from the computer, the poet immediately expressed the intention to re-inscription for the plaque, letting the plaque enjoy a wide reputation across the globe.

  Due to his health, Luofu did not continue other parts of the itinerary on Liugong Island. After lunch on the island, he returned to the hotel to rest. In the afternoon, the poet was fully recovered after a nap, and Luofu wanted to fulfill his promise in writing Chinese calligraphy. He took out the brush that he carried with him, and rest of us prepared the rice paper and the ink, and the poet successfully wrote the four characters of "Wei Zhen Hai Jiang" on the paper in a high spirit. When he was full of passion in writing, but an incomprehensible look was visible on his face. Writings express one’s heart, "Wei Zhen Hai Jiang" pinned the poet's strong endless yearning for the motherland.

  A friend with a careful mind found that there was no the Chinese character of "earth" within the "弓" of "Jiang" on the left of "Wei Zhen Hai Jiang". After reminding, Luofu said "It's ok." Afterwards, I think it was probably acceptable whether there was an "earth" in calligraphy or not, or the poet intends to do so. He wanted to remind people at all times that the territory of the motherland is still incomplete and that there is still a heavy "earth" of Taiwan.

  The Weihai Bay was filled with dense fog and drizzle in July, and the whole city was immersed in the sensation of poetry and painting. This is the festival for Weihai poets, and for this city as "A Poetic Residence." The "Poetic Life – Lecture of Luofu's Poetry and Exchanges of His Works Recitation" hosted by Weihai Federation of Literary and Art Circles was held in the city. The poets of Luofu and his wife from Taiwan, the famous poet Zhuang Xiaoming from Yangzhou, and the fans of Luofu poetry gathered together with nearly a hundred of poets, writers and poetry enthusiasts of Weihai to listen to the voice of the "poetry icon" from the precious island of Taiwan. 

  Due to the intermittent drizzle, the group photo had to be changed to the indoor hall before the meeting. Everyone has lined up properly, waiting for the arrival of Luofu. According to the agreed time, as the elevator door in the northeast corner of the hall slowly opened, Luofu got out of the elevator in the wheelchair. I quickly stepped to him, but the poet gestured to get out of the wheelchair, everyone was puzzled. Seeing the attitude of Luofu, I finally understood that he did not want to appear in front of people in a wheelchair. He stepped out of the wheelchair and walked to the people steadily, who expressed their respect and admiration with warm applause.

  At the age of 90 years old, Luofu, with silver hair told people about the journey of his heart and soul after staying in Canada and his exploration and transformation in poetry creation, expressing his sincere emotion and deep understanding of the motherland culture. He said with deep affection: "I have traveled all over the world, but always 'carrying' the Chinese culture with me. It has made me more courageous and my life confident!" During the speech, the great poet was overwhelmingly excited and almost unable to control himself. Mrs. Luo Qiongfang repeatedly suggested him to end his speech. But he said emotionally: "I need to finish my words!" All the presence was most moving.

  Listening to the poets on the scene reciting his masterpiece Missing Hometown by Boundary, Beauty of Lotus, Because of the Wind etc, Luofu was immersed in contemplation. In the interactive session, Luofu and Sun Jilin, the vice president of Shandong University (Weihai) School of Culture and Communication recalled the unforgettable exchanging events when they participated in the poetry discussion meeting. When Wang Chunbo, chairman of the Weihai Writers Association, ask him about the emotional anecdote between the old couple. Luofu laughed like a child. 

  At that time, Weihai, one of the seven sons written by Mr. Wen Yiduo, is now presenting a brand-new look to the world. A modern coastal region moving towards an international city, a city of excellence, featuring "easy for residence, work, traveling and studying" is now in its infancy.

During his few days in Weihai, Luofu was full of enthusiasm, amazed by the rapid development of the motherland and lingering amongst the city's mountains and rivers and praising the unique climate, beautiful natural scenery and livable urban human environment.

  All good things must come to an end!

  The couples were leaving Weihai to return to Beijing. Amid saying farewell to each other, Luofu and his wife kept showcasing their gratitude, which made them more admired for their cultivation and character. Hand in hand, we agreed to meet again in the coming year. Unexpectedly, it was our final farewell.

  After leaving Weihai, Luofu entrusted his wife to talk with us through WeChat video or voice whether he arrived in Beijing or returned to Taipei, wishing each other peace and happiness!

  Luofu has left, leaving endless poetry to the seaside city of Weihai. 

  Luofu has left, leaving endless memories for the poets who still stay in this world and the people who love poetry.

  At this point, my mind echoes the last paragraph of Luofu's Snow of Hunan – For Li 


A vast world

Lingering harsh winds

I am coming to visit on snow tonight.

Don’t know where the future shore of mine is

You and I have never shared

Frivolous teenagers 

But tonight, we are talking about the ancient sky of the universe

How embarrassing is the world

Who can decipher this impermanence

Open the window to ask gods

The sky answers with a clear coldness


Just in the darkness of the moment you cut the candle again

I jump for flying

Dive into a world of white space

Chasing the sun hundreds of millions of miles away

Just looking for an answer

Copyright © 2011 CFLAC Corporation, All Rights Reserved