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Poetry Intro

First Poem

Second Poem

Third Poem

Fourth Poem

Second Poem

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Numerous carvings and writings in several languages have been found on the barracks walls of the Angel Island Immigration Station. The overwhelming majority of these remarkable writings are poems written in Chinese, many of them carved into the wooden walls of the buildings.

Most of the poems are written in the styles of classical Chinese poetry which originated during the T'ang Dynasty period. They express a range of thoughts and feelings about dealing with the hardships of migrating so far from home and the difficult conditions they faced once they arrived.

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Poem   Instead of remaining a citizen of China, I willingly became an ox.
I intended to come to America to earn a living.
The Western styled buildings are lofty; but I have not the luck to live in them.
How was anyone to know that my dwelling place would be a prison?

Reprinted with permission from University of Washington Press.

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