Liu Xiaobo poem



I wonder if any of you know about any English translations of this poem. I have tried to translate it into German, although I suspect that there must be at least one translation already, otherwise why would they choose this particular poem? The ‘dust’ in the poem is in plural, like dust particles. In German, I think I would stick to ‘Staub’, which doesn’t have a plural, just like ‘dust’. There is ‘Stäubchen’, which can be pluralized, but I’m not sure if I could use it well for this poem.

Warte mit dem Staub auf mich – Liu Xiaobo

(Für meine Frau, die den ganzen Tag auf mich wartet)

Es bleibt dir nichts übrig

als mit dem Staub auf mich zu warten

Schicht um Schicht

füllt er die Ecken

Du lässt die Vorhänge zu

Die Sonne soll den Staub nicht stören

Auf den Bücherregalen verschwinden die Zeichen im Staub

Die Muster im Teppich, vom Staub vollgesogen

Wenn du mir schreibst

Tauchst du den Stift gern in den Staub

die Staubkörner stechen dann in meinen Augen

Du sitzt den ganzen Tag da

und willst nicht umhergehen

damit deine Füße den Staub nicht verletzen

Du atmest ganz ruhig

schreibst mit deinem Schweigen eine Geschichte

in dieser erstickenden Zeit

Nur der Staub bleibt dir noch treu

Der Staub erfüllt

dir den Blick, den Atem, die Zeit

In deiner Seele

baut er Tag um Tag ein Grab

Zoll um Zoll

angefangen bei den Füßen

bis zur Brust und bis zur Kehle

Du weißt, das Grab

ist deine beste Zuflucht

Niemand stört dich

wenn du dort auf ich wartest

Du hast eben eine besondere Beziehung zum Staub

in der Dunkelheit in der erstickenden Stille

warte, bitte wart auf mich

Warte auf mich mit dem Staub

verweigre die Sonne die Strömung der Luft

bis der Staub dich ganz begräbt

Lass dich einschlafen im Staub

bis du erwachst

wenn ich zurück bin

wischt du den Staub von der Haut, von der Seele

und stehst auf wie durch ein Wunder

MW Übers. im Dezember 2010

和灰尘一起等我–给终日等待的妻 – 刘晓波









































The open letter from EACS (European Association of Chinese Studies) to Chinese president Hu Jintao from January 22nd, 2010, in the name of over 800 people working in Chinese Studies in 36 countries, was a very significant sign of protest against the verdict from December 25, 2009. On Christmas Day 2009, Liu Xiaobo had been sentenced to 11 years in prison, supposedly for co-writing Charter 08 and for a few articles, randomly selected, as it seems, from about 500 pieces he published in Hongkong, Taiwan and other places outside of mainland China since 2005. In the recent most EACS newsletter, outgoing president Prof. Brunhild Staiger explains about the open letter:

“I have to mention one activity of January this year which may seem a little unusual to some of you. I mean the Open Letter that we wrote in favour of Liu Xiaobo. The text was drawn up by our former Secretary General Olga Lomova and after elaborate discussions among the Board members was slightly modified and signed by me. The majority of the Board agreed to send the Letter to the President of the People’s Republic of China and to Xinhua News Agency. It was also sent to the German news agency dpa. Of course, there was no reaction from China, but I was told that it was discussed in the Chinese internet. The Letter also met with response in one or two newspapers in Norway, but as far as I know not anywhere else. However, we did receive many very positive reactions from EACS members.”

Recently, I received a notice from EACS about a new Liu Xiaobo appeal. The notice is a little confusing, as the main part comes not from the EACS, but from Internationales Literaturfestival in Berlin ( It includes an appeal that should have been signed by December 10, but apparently they still want people to sign. And there is a suggestion to stage readings of Charter 08 and of Liu Xiaobo’s poem 和灰塵一起等我 He huichen yiqi deng wo, from 劉曉波劉霞詩選 Liu Xiaobo Liu Xia shi xuan (Poems by Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia), Hongkong: Xiafei’er International Publishing 2000, p. 109ff. It can be found at

and on thousands of other websites. I am pretty sure they do mean this particular poem. The readings are suggested to take place on March 20 – does that have anything to do with Easter, maybe? Or maybe the date just happens to be this year’s date of their international reading festival. They had a similar appeal for readings with texts by Liao Yiwu, which was also presented on this list. There was a rather significant echo. Many famous writers read Liao’s works, among them Nobel laureate Elfriede Jelinek in Austria. In Liu’s case, December 28 (his birthday) would be a good date for a reading. But Lent or Easter do fit well with the poem.

Hier ist noch ein Link zu einem längeren Artikel über zwei Bücher. Erinnerungskultur, Vergangenheitsbewältigung etc. sind nicht nur in Österreich, sondern auch in China seit längerem besonders aktuell.

New York Review of Books (1/13/11):


3条回应 to “Liu Xiaobo poem”

  1. Warte mit dem Staub auf mich – Liu Xiaobo « 為世博服務 Says:

    […] Warte mit dem Staub auf mich – Liu Xiaobo […]

  2. Martin Alexander Says:

    Thanks for the translation! As you probably now know, our English translation has been widely distributed on the Internet and was read in 34 countries round the world on Sunday 20th March with Liu Xiaobo’s Charter 08. the translation has also been widely re-translated: into Afrikaans, Arabic, Macedonian, Spanish, French, Dutch, Russian, Romanian, Bosnian, Swahili, and more – including, of course, German.
    We also translated a shorter poem, which was broadcast on the BBC World Service (The Strand, 3rd Nov 2011), and it was this that led to the Berlin Festival and Authors for Peace contacting us and including our translation both in their petition last year and in the readings that took place in March.
    Thanks so much for your work on this, and for adding your voice to calls for the freedom of Liu Xiaobo.

    With warm best wishes,

  3. Beat Mazenauer Says:

    Lieber Martin Winter
    Im Rahmen einer Ausstellung mit dem Titel “Bücherhimmel – Bücherhöllen” (Museum Strauhof, Zürich, 19.9-25.11.2012) würde ich Ihre Übersetzung von “Warte mit dem Staub…” gerne als kleines Wandbild zeigen: im Raum der Zensur und der Büchervernichtung. Ich würde mich freuen, wenn Sie dafür Ihre Einwilligung gäben. Das Gedicht, etwa im A3-Format, schlösse sich an eine Reihe von Zensurlisten an – gewissermassen als Zeuge der anhaltenden Bücherverbote.
    Mit besten Grüssen
    Beat Mazenauer


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