Spring comes to the Commune (1973)

This poem is titled ‘Spring comes to the Commune’ and was published in 1973. It offers an idealised view of life in the peasant communes and was probably government propaganda:

“Spring comes to the Commune
The morning star has just appeared
Whose are those rapid footfalls?
Whose the songs floating through the mist?

Our village girls are marching off to battle!
A host of carrying-poles, a host of songs,
Their kerchiefs silvered with hoarfrost,
They cross the bridge, cut through the willow grove,
Setting cocks crowing in the mountain village.

Strewn with sunshine the Dazhai road
Down which our girls swing
A match for the toughest young men
Each carrying 200 pounds of good manure.
Poles arched like rainbows
Racing through the clouds
They challenge the magpies
With songs carried by the wind.

As their singing floats into the stable
Uncle Zhao throws back his head to shout:
‘What are you carrying, girls?
Is it gold or silver?’
With a peal of laughter
The girls flash back:
‘It’s a bumper harvest that we’re carrying
We’re bringing spring to the commune.’

Wild geese winging north
Alight outside the village, a brave sight;
Our commune is as lovely as a painting,
A picture painted by our commune members.”