"Shock" by Xiaoping Chen‘Sonnet I: Liu Haixiao’ and Other Poetry by Evan Mantyk The Society March 14, 2018 Beauty, Culture, Human Rights in China, News of Note, Poetry 24 Comments Sonnet I: Liu Haixiao Mr. Liu Haixiao (pronounced Leo High-shaow) is serving a 16-year prison sentence in Jilin Province, China, where he was arrested for tapping into the local TV network to broadcast programs that debunk state propaganda demonizing Falun Gong. He has been given opportunities to walk free contingent upon giving up his practice of Falun Gong, but he has refused to do so. Read his story here. A freezing wind wisps snow through window bars Into the cell where shivering convicts crouch, But Liu Haixiao shakes not, his gaze afar Is drawn by such fine flakes now prison-couched. O how they fly! As if they are propelled By the same unseen force that led him here— A moral quest to see the state’s lies quelled, That risked his life and yet to peace adhered. He feels a flake alight upon his neck, Where once his flesh was seared by charged batons, And senses Earth as well is but a speck, The aching years gone by mere speck neurons, And he the space that will not melt away, A diamond forming stronger every day. On the Dangers of Internet Pornography The famous musical millennial Mark* Was charged for having loads of child porn, And in the depths of shame so cold and stark, He hung himself to rise above the scorn. Yet, in my heart I mourn this pervert star, A member of a generation drowning In a sea of porn yet more bizarre With access ever greater—tastes are diving. We must call out to those who float in filth, Who drink it up and see no sign of peril— Adrift, he breeds a monster in himself, A Darwin ape who is ignoble, feral, And slowly bloated, slowly sinks toward death, In need of rousing by a saving breath. *In reference to the conviction and suicide of actor-musician Mark Salling in January of this year. The Creator An alexandroid Lord, King, Creator of mankind _____Upon His throne, A greater being you won’t find _____Nor more alone. In taking charge of making us, _____He sits apart In regions we find dangerous _____And wrench the heart, Where all we know and treat as dear _____Sinks off the map, And when it’s time He reaches near _____To bridge our gap. Evan Mantyk is President of the Society of Classical Poets and teaches literature and history in upstate New York. Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 24 Responses Sally Cook March 14, 2018 There is so much ugliness in the world. A remarkable person, Mr. Liu Haixiao rises above it. He is an example to us all. Reply Evan March 15, 2018 Thank you, Sally. Indeed! Hopefully one day he can read it. Reply Amy Foreman March 14, 2018 All three poems are thought-provoking and well-crafted. The second strikes me especially as a clarion call to the masses in our culture who, without considering the cost, rush headlong down the road to destruction. May God give strength and resolve to the millions who have been sucked into this insidious trap of pornography, so accessible now, and so fraudulently devastating, for it promises instant gratification but, in the end, serves up only death and hell. Thank you for these, Evan! Reply Evan March 15, 2018 Thank you, Amy. We have a world of adults or people from earlier generations creating this technology and not regulating it, people whose hormones have long been dulled and who are roped into real world responsibilities probably thinking its all but a bit of mischief and fun and not realizing how disturbingly far a new, fresh, young generation will run with it. They have time, they have technology, they have unconquerable wills, and they are very actively destroying themselves with constant and ever new forms of pornography, perversion, and violence. It’s really a crisis. Reply Amy Foreman March 16, 2018 Spot on, Evan. Maybe the lives and deaths of celebrities like Mark Salling will serve as a wake-up call for some. We can only hope and pray. Sam Gilliland March 14, 2018 Difficult to respond to the tale of Liu Haixiao without letting personal feelings of sorrow for his confinement destroy objectivity and the subtlety of analysis; neither of which are the least bit of use to our confined friend. Once invited to China when its doors were closed to the West, I know that word of the kind of support aired for Liu shall probably not even filter through to him, but I echo every line, every thought this poem brings to those most likely to read it. A piece I heartily applaud. Aye & aye, Sam. Reply Evan March 15, 2018 Thank you for your compassionate reply, Sam. It means a lot to me. Reply David Watt March 15, 2018 Sonnet 1 perfectly expresses the quiet dignity and resolve of Liu Haixiao. I particularly like the image of light and soft snow as stark contrast to Liu’s harsh surroundings. Reply Evan March 15, 2018 Thank you, David! That detail really stood out to me when I was reading the account: During the SARS epidemic in 2003, the No. 3 Detention Center was overcrowded and conditions became harsher. It was freezing cold during winter and snow drifted into the cells. http://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2018/3/1/168908.html Reply Lu "Reed ABCs" Wei March 15, 2018 As is not surprising, Mr. Mantyk has inspired me again, by promoting knowledge of such unsung heroes of unwavering faith. Liu Haixiao by Lu “Reed ABCs” Wei “…his flesh was seared by charged batons…” —Evan Mantyk Liu Haixiao, from Shuangyang, Changchun, Jilin’s capital, of over seven million people in its metropol, who go about their busy lives of work and play and rest, are probably completely unaware of him unblessed, who’s spending his life in a jail for faith in Falun Gong: 2002, arrested long ago. It has been long. That same year, when his father died, renouncing his belief, police harassed his mother—Liu was given no relief. Guards tortured him upon a chair for hours long on end, and he was forced to memorize detention center regs. It hurt to bend; his legs were sore; there were no eggs with spice: potatoes rotting for the soup and sand mixed in the rice. With no hot water, ice-cold winters; life was very hard; and the batons—electrified—cut even as they charred. His home is Jilin Prison since October 23, 2003, where he was transferred—expeditiously. He shared his cell with seventy, but none of them could talk; feet blisters, due to scabies, made it difficult to walk. He was still forced to do hard labour; but could not get help. Unless he gave up Falun Gong, he would remain in hell. He itched, he was in pain, he slept just minutes every night; his weight dropped under eighty, but he tightly held to life. Brainwashing, by the likes of Zhao Jing and Wang Yuanchun, could not force him to disavow belief in Falun Gong. Batons came out, then off he went to solitary time, for fifty days and more he sat amidst the wretched grime. Though members of his family have pleaded he renounce his faith, he won’t, this brave man of conviction, free from doubts. Reply C.B. Anderson March 15, 2018 Though many of the rhymes here ring with blatant flaws, The overall intention cleaves to higher laws Of universal justice; rightfully forgiven, Then, exact congruity for which we’ve striven. Reply Evan March 16, 2018 Thank you, Lu, a rousing fact-filled monument, Worth the mental energy that you have spent! Reply Leonard Dabydeen March 15, 2018 Immense joy and delight to read these sonnets and the alexandroid poem, Evan. Brilliant and inspiring. Notwithstanding, I take note of the sad human rights situation regarding Mr. Liu Haixiao in the Chinese prison, and his affirmative stand for his belief in the practice of Falon Gong. He will not be forgotten in the annals of human rights history. And your poem, Sonnet I: Liu Haixiao will be treasured. I will certainly share these poems of yours as favorites in my blog: Poems Jogging in the Mind (https://ldabydeen.wordpress.com/). Thank you for Sharing. Reply Evan March 16, 2018 Thank you, Leonard! It’s easy to forget what is going on in China, if a major movie or major media, controlled by a major corporation, wants to cover such stories, it has to immediately consider the threat of financial fallout from business interests in China. Truly scary! Some interesting reads… Global Trade: https://nyti.ms/2GbK2xg Colleges: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/01/16/how-china-infiltrated-us-classrooms-216327 Hollywood: https://www.theepochtimes.com/spreading-the-red-stain-the-communist-infiltration-of-hollywood_2299892.html Reply Leonard Dabydeen March 16, 2018 Kindly allow me to share two of my poems on LIU XIAOBO, Chinese Dissident Who Won Nobel While Jailed in a Chinese prison… #106 (p.122) EMPTY CHAIR* (tetractys) World wide watch empty chair his soul sits on frail hands waive to his people with warm heart. Hearts waving back with hands like pendulum his chair is warm with freedom his name Liu. #107 (p.123) LIU XIAOBO* (tetractys) Cut my tongue and I shall still speak to you with a voice of freedom you cannot muzzle. Your stubbornness is your weakness I hold in the palm of my open restless mind. *From my book, Watching You, A Collection of Tetractys Poems, Xlibris Publication (2012) ABOUT LIU XIAOBO Asia Pacific|Liu Xiaobo, Chinese Dissident Who Won Nobel While Jailed, Dies at 61 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/13/world/asia/liu-xiaobo-dead.html Thank you. Reply Evan March 16, 2018 Thank you for sharing. There are so many groups and individuals who are persecuted in China, it is astounding. Reply Fr. Richard Libby March 16, 2018 These are well written poems that convey truths about important matters. Well done, Mr. Mantyk! Reply Evan March 17, 2018 Thank you, Fr. Libby! Reply Joseph Charles MacKenzie March 16, 2018 The poet is a witness to his time and place. Mr. Mantyk is not only a discrete observer of his world, but also an acute one as well. Reply Evan March 17, 2018 Thank you, Mr. MacKenzie! Reading your sonnets has helped me to understand the inner workings of the classical sonnet in a modern context. So, double thank you! And, as it were, happy St. Patrick’s Day! Reply James Sale March 18, 2018 Sonnet 1 is heroic, and the concluding couplet superb: as a diamond crystallises carbon, so the poet here crystallises meaning, and we feel its compressed power. Great writing – and delighted to see you utilising the force of the sonnet form. Reply Evan March 19, 2018 Thank you, James! And for someone who has written so much on modern attempts at the epic, which I associate with the heroic, this is wonderful praise. Reply Wendy Bourke March 19, 2018 All of these pieces are powerfully rendered. The Sonnet, in particular, was very moving. The snow, for me, is a stunning image – the fragility of a snowflake: so nuanced. ‘The rhyme is masterful, contributing to the pulse and progression of the pieces. All of these poems are imbued with a clarity befitting the themes … and which, to my mind, accentuates the impact. Wonderful writing! Reply Evan March 22, 2018 Thank you, Wendy! If I had to guess, a focus on clarity and imagery are facets that define my work (of course it is difficult for oneself to pick out one’s defining traits), which you have adeptly identified. I think these facets may go back to my interest in drawing and painting in my youth. I would paint you a picture with pigments rather than words if I could. Ms. Chen has done a marvelous painting above at any rate (though not precisely of the subject of this poem, it is likewise a Falun Gong practitioner persecuted in China). 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