Remembering Chairman Mao's 1st Wife Yang Kaihui

ByWomen Voice November 17, 2016

Chairman Mao's Mourning

Mao mourned the death of Yang for the rest of his life. His great pain of losing her could be seen from a poem he wrote to Yang's classmate Li Shuyi, who also lost her partner Liu Zhixun. This is an excerpt of the poem (translation by Schram):

I lost my proud poplar, and you your willow,

Poplar and willow soar lightly to the heaven of heavens.

Wu Kang, asked what he has to offer,

Presents them respectfully with cassia wine.

The lonely goddess in the moon spreads her ample sleeves

To dance for these faithful souls in the endless sky.

Of a sudden comes word of the tiger's defeat on earth,

And they break into tears of torrential rain.

The allusion to poplar trees is a reference to Yang, whose surname meant "poplar" in Chinese, while that to willows alludes to Liu's surname, which meant "willow".


Remembering Chairman Mao's 1st Wife Yang Kaihui

Mao Xinyu (R), grandson of Mao Zedong, visits Yang's grave. [Women Voice]

Remembering Chairman Mao's 1st Wife Yang Kaihui

Yang Kaihui's grave [Women Voice]


(Source: Women Voice/Translated and edited by Women of China)


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