A migrant worker who writes poems

A migrant worker who writes poems
Wei Guohua (not his real name) spread out four thumb-thick diaries on the dining table, opened them one by one, and filled them with sentences. He dropped out of school at the age of 12 to work in the diary hidden under the bedding, in the middle of the night when the heart “in a hurry”, lit a candle to write a few words, “don’t write I can’t sleep”.

From a brick kiln and sand digger to a truck driver, Wei Guohua, 48, has never stopped writing. Diary collection of ten or twenty, home building lost, only four left. In 2018, his daughter taught him how to use a smartphone and he wrote more than 1,000 poems. When the phone suggested that the memory was low, he deleted the old ones and wrote new ones.


The photos in Wei Guohua’s diary for this article are provided by the interviewees

“We are going to Kashgar and Turpan. It’s all mountain roads.” He pointed to the sentence “mountains, mountains, mountain bends, scary,” and said, “desolate places, snow mountains turned into water, the bridge was broken, the road blocked for days.” Looking at the poem, the experience of the road surfaced before my eyes.


The diary wrote about Wei Guohua’s experiences on the road

Wei Guohua has been on the road, the poem has the anxious traffic jam, also has the magnificent rivers and mountains. He never said he wrote poetry. “Just diaries, rhymes, to amuse myself.”

Poetry is the high spring snow, did not finish junior high school Wei Guohua is not easy to write. But he wanted to write again, and the sentences whirled around in his head, anxious to fall onto the paper.

There is a corner in the hand of the fast, like Wei Guohua writing poets. In the simple and unadorned poem, there is a feather of life, and there is the open beauty of the distance.


Some time ago, a netizen sent Wei Guohua a private message: “After reading your poems, I feel sad.” Wei Guohua was surprised that he seldom wrote about the hardships of life, and most of his poems were about the experiences of the road. Looking back at his works, he remembered how he had survived the hard days on the road.

When I was a child, I did hard work, and if I could not insist on it, I would write some poems to encourage myself. After driving the truck, he wrote more poems. For a long time, no one spoke, so Wei Guohua had to write down his words.

On the road in qinghai, he lay in the back seat how also can’t sleep, looked up at the roof of tiqing’s car, wrote down “drifting from place to place has been half a life, the sun, the moon and the stars with lonely lamp”. In recent years, more cars and less goods, more and more difficult to earn money, the car has not been delivered to the next batch of goods began to contact, stop a day less earn more than 1,000 yuan. When he saw empty trucks parked at the gate of the factory building, Wei Guohua’s heart sank, “I don’t think we can pull them today.”

A migrant worker who writes poems

Trucks lined up at the factory to pick up goods

The freight company arranged for two people to drive a car, people can have a rest, the car can not stop. When Wei Guohua drives, his colleagues sleep behind him. He likes listening to music, but he seldom listens when he drives and cannot disturb his colleagues. Holding the steering wheel, thinking of nothing, watching the high mountains in front of me coming closer and closer. Wei Guohua seldom called except to pick up and unload the goods, and his wife did not hear his voice for ten days and half a month.

Lonely, driving for a long time have this feeling, he wrote “poetry accompany me through the long night, laugh at the spring, summer and autumn and winter”.

Ran Dongxu (not his real name) has felt lonely since he was eight years old. His poems are old and dignified, like looking back at life after weathering it. The young man, who had just turned 20, urged him to grow up, he wrote, “with a history of so many things and so many worries, I felt ridiculous.”

At 6 p.m., Ran returned from the construction site with a pair of black gloves with bare fingers, heavy rain dripping on his brown woolen hat. “Poetry suits me,” Mr. Ran said in a hoarse voice, smoking a cigarette, as the roadside greenhouse stood neatly in the field where he lived in the suburbs, the roar of airplanes flying overhead.

Ran Dongxu’s home is in the mountains of Tongren, Guizhou. His parents took him out of the mountains to attend primary school in Xiamen for his education. Because of his parents’ job changes, Ran Dongxu came to Shanghai to study in the fourth grade. Mother in the factory assembly line, father to the construction site to find work, meager income can only afford a person to go to school, so the sister born in 2002 was left in Tongren hometown.

While his sister envied his brother’s ability to stay with his parents, Ran Dongxu seldom communicated with his parents. When he returned home during the Spring Festival, he would not leave his hometown.

His wandering childhood made him many friends and his old cousin, but there was always a corner in his heart that he could not fill. Migrant children like him are placed in the same class with too many “talented” students — the average age of the first grade students is 15 — and he gradually blends in, learns to smoke and collects protection money.

At school, Ran would make trouble by pouring a pot of water over the teacher’s head on the classroom door and throwing the cooked melon seeds out of the window. He did so much mischief that he was expelled from school in his second year of junior high school.

Ran Dongxu is pretentious. Nobody talks to him. He likes to communicate with books. Grandpa had his fortune told him that Xiao Ran was a golden dragon and would travel the main road in the future. His relatives thought that he would become an official when he grew up.

In the three years since he dropped out of school, he has been to Nantong, Guangzhou, Nanchang, and back to Shanghai, hoping to make his own career.

At the age of 18, Ran Dongxu wrote “Can’t hang a hat into the Jinque, also for posterity to leave a good voice.” At this time, he, as an apprentice in the barber shop, dare not chat with customers, can not sell a membership card, the store manager said impolitely, “you are not suitable for this, as soon as possible to change the line.


It wasn’t until two years as an apprentice at a hairdresser that Ran got used to it, learning to talk more when cutting hair and inquiring more about customers’ ages and occupations.

Once, he followed a girl who was walking her dog on a sales pitch. She got upset and replied, “If you don’t leave, my dog will bite.” He is still to follow the girl to walk a few hundred meters, did not break the words, the other party felt annoyed, had to do a card.

In 2019, Ran was hired to work at a high-end hairdressing shop in Nantong. Working longer, his father could have helped him open a hairdressing shop, but Ran stayed two months and left.

The trigger was a complaint. A customer asked the manager for a haircut, but the manager couldn’t spare any time. Finally, the customer asked him to come for a haircut. Ran Dongxu, who had just entered the business not long ago, had to bite the bullet.

After cutting, the customer gets angry, “What are you cutting, can you cut?” Ran didn’t dare reply. He didn’t feel bad about his cut, but he still kept his head down and listened to the customer’s criticism. After the incident, he left the salon, “feeling a little contemptuous and unbalanced.”

“One thousand years difficult to repair seven feet body, how can you waste a hundred years of spring.” When he entered the service industry, Ran Dongxu was still unhappy as a teenager.

He felt that life should not be like this, working purely for money. “People who like to write poetry tend to be narcissistic and withdrawn.” Guo Yuchu (not her real name) did the same thing when she was young.

Guo Yuchu, a native of Yuanling, Hunan province, wanted to be a doctor when he was a student, hoping to use his power to change things. After graduating from junior high school and failing to attend health school, his family was too poor to afford college, so he dropped out in his second year of high school.

“All living beings are ordinary, but I am crazy in the weather.” It was with this swagger of confidence that Guo came to Wenzhou in his twenties. As an assembly-line worker at a Wenzhou shoe factory, he learned how to make shoes as an apprentice, working from 8 a.m. to 4 a.m. in a small workshop that could only fit two tables and filled with the acrid smell of tar.

The Wenzhou shoe factory makes so many different kinds of shoes that it’s not easy to get on the assembly line. Guo was a slow learner and was always fired during the trial period. It took him more than four months to join the assembly line.


Guo Yuchu makes shoes at a Wenzhou shoe factory

He was introverted. When he first came into the factory to pay wages, he dared not tell when the management gave his own wages to other employees by mistake. He likes to be alone and can’t bear the infighting in the factory. He talks to himself most of the time by writing poems.

When Guo Yuchu, 28, joined the new factory as a department manager in 2008, the old manager came to greet him: “Have you been in management before? I can learn some experience from you.” Guo Yuchu didn’t know how to answer, but pretended not to hear. The old manager came over and asked again. Guo had a brainwave and replied, “I left gently, just as I came here gently, without taking away a cloud.

After many years of Guo Yuchu heard the sting behind the question, “If I answered positively, he would make a fool of myself, and then I would be deliberately responsible for any friction at work.”

Resolved the embarrassment, Guo Yuchu still could not stay in the factory for a long time. With many shoe styles, difficult department adjustment and various forms of fines, he felt constrained by many people. After more than a month, he resigned.

The day of resignation, the sky was drizzle, out of the factory, Guo Yuchu’s mind jumped out of the poem: “free clouds and wild cranes, I can swim the remotest corners of the globe.”