Being a Trotskyite at 15 in 1965 in Toronto meant going to meetings in the back room of the Vanguard Bookstore, which was on Yonge Street just north of Bloor. As a Young Socialist, I also got to attend the general meetings there as well. I remember a guy once standing up in the middle of a meeting and shouting ‘We should send all our wheat to Cuba!’. It also meant going to some of the first big demonstrations against the Vietnam war. We stood out as a highly organized and disciplined contingent, and there was always someone with a bullhorn leading the chants and giving directions. I remember one time when, in front of the US Consulate on University Avenue, mounted police, swinging billy clubs, walked their horses- which seemed enormous seen from below- right in amongst the us. I am sorry I lost touch with some of those people- they were in interesting bunch. I supposed most of them were carried off, as I was, in the maelstrom of the late sixties.
On this mid-autumn night, happily drunk, I wrote this, thinking of Ziyu
Bright moon, when did you first appear?
Lifting my wine glass, I ask the blue sky.
Tonight inside heaven’s palace gates
I wonder what year it is?
I would go up, riding the wind
but I’m afraid the jasper towers and jade halls
would be too cold for me to bear. Instead
I get up and dance in your translucent shadows.
How can this be the world of humans?
Circling red chambers,
slanting through lattices,
you visit my sleepless night.
Not that I have any complaints,
but why are you always full at times of parting?
People are happy or unhappy, together or separate,
and the moon is waxing or waning, cloudy or clear.
I hope the two of us will have long lives
and share the moonlight tonight, a thousand miles apart.
[Trans. by AB]