I read that Christ said: “Turn the other cheek,”
And told good friends I held that notion, but
Still wondered if that turning made me weak.
The answer didn’t seem to be clear cut.

“I’ll show you weakness,” said His voice, “Just see
What blood Red China’s done to those who hold
That truthfulness best defines reality,
Show mercy, practice self-control, don’t fold

When they are taken, day or night, to be
Maimed, tortured, all for doing nothing wrong;
Their organs taken by Beijing’s decree.
In case you wonder, they’re the Falun Gong.

So if you bristle at another’s reach,
Remember: others suffer what you preach.”

 

Charles Bauer resides in Chapel Hill, NC and is a salesman for a commercial carpet manufacturer. 


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10 Responses

  1. Sally Cook

    Dear Mr. Bauer —

    I like that you express yourself so clearly. Please let us see more of your work.

    Reply
    • Charlie Bauer

      Dear Ms. Cook —

      Thank you very much for your encouragement! I have only recently started writing poetry worth reading so I don’t have many; the Society has published the ones worth reading.

      Best wishes,

      Charlie

      Reply
  2. Aw "Curbside" Lee

    Mr. Bauer takes a different tact in his sonnet “Weaknesses”. His reminder is to those who preach: Turn the other cheek. ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν μὴ ἀντιστῆναι τῷ πονηρῷ· ἀλλ’ ὅστις σε ῥαπίζει εἰς τὴν δεξιὰν σιαγόνα σου, στρέψον αὐτῷ καὶ τὴν ἄλλην· Matthew 5: 39.

    It just doesn’t end, does it—in China? The brutal murders continue. If the mainstream media spent ⅛ as much outrage on the persecution in China as they do on the President, they might be considered more as purveyors of truth and less as deliverers of fake news. It is important that we as poets not let the World forget.

    Like Mr. Tessitore, who noted its horrifying quality, I too, responded verbally to the picture Mr. Mantyk recently posted on a picture of an execution in China:

    A Photo of an Execution in China

    Against a wall of earth and rock, a pale, brownish gray,
    a youngish woman stands in white. It is a sunny day.
    A man behind her pulls upon what seems her hand-cuffed hands.
    Is he unlocking them pulled back? So patiently she stands.
    Her lovely, shiny, black hair pulled back in a pony tail
    falls down onto her back. Perhaps she is too shocked to wail.
    There are no eyes here. It is as if everything is dead.
    She faces dirt. Her executioner is focused on her head.
    The two men fidgeting about her back seem unconcerned.
    In dark sunglasses, cautious, peeking, a soldier’s head has turned.
    The scene with soldiers chatting, hardly caring, has begun.
    In uniform, the executioner has aimed his gun.
    The rifle, barrel silver-gray, is firmly in his grip.
    Its butt is snuggled in his shoulder. One can’t see his lip.
    The men are all in smartish jackets, flat and round-topped hats;
    there must be dozens loitering. I do not know the stats.

    Reply
    • Charlie Bauer

      Thanks for your thoughts and comments “Curbside”! I have to agree that the pictures, and by implication the structure of a society that countenances the acts that created them, are horrifying.

      Best wishes,

      Charlie

      Reply
  3. C.B. Anderson

    So, Mr. Bauer, are you suggesting that Christ’s message was that we should suffer the indignities of our oppressors? Perhaps so, but I don’t like it one bit. Maybe your message was meant to be ambiguous, and I don’t mind that at all. What happens after we have turned both our cheeks is what concerns me. It goes back to all of the Old Testament talk of smiting the enemies of Israel. As a Christian in America, I can scarcely imagine what Israeli Jews must face every day of the year.

    Reply
  4. Charlie Bauer

    Thanks for your question Mr. Anderson because it is a very good one. Your reaction referring to oppressors is very reasonable and points to a challenging question in Christian theology: Christ told us to “turn the other cheek”, but he also displayed righteous anger when he cleansed the temple; that seems to me to indicate that he didn’t expect one instruction to cover all situations.

    On another level, which is completely personal to me, I can’t help but be in awe of the Falun Gong’s conviction and wonder how mine compares to it; it would seem to me that the strength of their conviction approaches that of first century Christians.

    In closing I hope you see that I’m not trying to suggest any course of action, merely examining the issues involved. It seems to me a difficult line of thought because life is not black and white, but gray.

    Best wishes

    Charlie

    Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      Yes, exactly. All confrontations are situational, no matter what doctrines are adhered to. Good job with the poem. That’s all that’s expected here.

      Reply
      • Charlie Bauer

        Well said and thank you for your thoughts and compliment; they are very appreciated!

  5. David Watt

    Your sonnet poses an important question, and also manages to make a strong statement against the cruelties inflicted on Falun Gong. To cover so much with a minimum of words is a job well-done.

    Reply
    • Charlie Bauer

      Thank you Mr. Watt! Your observation and compliment are very appreciated.

      Best wishes,

      Charlie

      Reply

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