The Great Firewall of China (2014)

The Golden Shield Project (Chinese: 金盾工程; pinyin: jīndùn gōngchéng), colloquially referred to as the Great Firewall of China[1] (Chinese: 防火长城;pinyin: fánghuǒ chángchéng) is a censorship and surveillance project operated by theMinistry of Public Security (MPS) division of the government of China. The project was initiated in 1998 and began operations in November 2003.
— Wikipedia, “The Great Firewall of China”

You and I were laughing today
about how a message sent
from one computer to another
barely arm’s length apart
had to travel (at the speed
of light?) to the server in Lansing
and back, and how we don’t
even know what the Internet is
really, though I’ve heard that
giant server farms requiring
enormous amounts of electricty
are popping up everywhere
to store all the You Tube videos
we imagine floating in a cloud.
I don’t know how or why
500 million Chinese netizens
were blocked today but they said
something about a house in
Cheyenne, Wyoming and a thing
called The Great Firewall of China.
So I knew that would be the title
of this poem when I stepped outside
to scoop the driveway into the pink
evening light of a winter sunset
tinged with just the first hint
of spring like a single drop
of blood in a cloud, this one
made of bits of ice and dust
hanging over the distant hills
like a Chinese landscape painting
with tag alders glowing red
like a great firewall of China,
like I could be floating, too.

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About Ray Sharp

Father, poet, triathlete, local public health planner
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