Made (by Imprisoned Falun Gong) in China

It’s mass production everywhere I look,
From toys of plastic hope to airplane parts,
And after all the livelihood you took,
You’re pressing mass production upon hearts

By binding hands that never meant you harm,
And feet that never trampled on your dreams,
As tears part from eyes in cold alarm
To join the pools of blood beneath the screams.

But know…

A heart’s a forest flushed by hope that springs,
And though you burn down every single tree,
The waters gush and split the seed that sings
The song of life proclaiming it is free

To ever serve the faith to which it clings.

 

A Spark and a Fire

I often set to wonder why
We take the stands we take;
What makes us rise from where we lie,
And stirs our hearts to wake

When forth, the ever silent, speak
To light a tiny spark
That burns a flame by which we seek
To drive away the dark;

Like planters of the olive tree,
They never taste its fruit,
Which, like the one who eats from it,
Knows nothing of its root.

I think the answer might well be
The courage of a few
Whose grit, resolve, tenacity,
And other virtues too

Deliver us to light again
This fire that will burn
In honor of their service then,
An honor we return.

 

Winter Submission

Float, little snowflake,
Come, rest on my hand,
Soft as the mercy
That sends you to land;

Tree, tall and mighty,
Surrender your leaf,
Bare all your branches
To frosty relief;

Meadow and hill, spread
Your carpet of white,
River, shine diamonds
In silver moonlight;

My heart is silent,
Asleep with the grass,
Patient submission
Till spring comes to pass;

Wake me to sunshine,
Eternal and sweet,
Winter is over,
My spring is complete.

 

Hidden Order

As I indulge the prairie, sipping tea,
I spy my book in insect company,
For trudging through the plain of open page
Is but an ant an eye can barely see.

I wonder how the letters must appear
To one who is to them so very near,
Like patches of the earth about the snow,
Irregular and varied in area.

But crawling so, my little friend can’t tell
That every page is framed in dual el,
All bound into submission by a spine,
All born and cut from one material.

I swallow all this prairie with my eye,
These golden, yellow flowers swaying by
A stream that seems to stop, then flow again,
To mirror well the canopy of sky

Where floats a fleet of clouds upon a breeze,
Some gray, some peach, some white of foamy seas,
Some left behind a soaring eagle’s flight
To humbly bow and kiss the tops of trees.

I find my crawling friend is much like me,
Admirer of versatility:
He cannot see the order that I do,
And someone sees an order I can’t see.

 

On Sonnets

To forge a sonnet is an art supreme;
It begs a certain clarity of thought
To court a shy yet unrelenting theme
And groom it in apparel that is brought

By aptitude and skill with written word;
To gaze into suspended space and time
And trap a flight of fancy in a bird
That preens its wings to alternating rhyme:

Three quatrains, then a couplet at the end
To tenderly and mercifully wean
You from the shady branches that extend
A dozen roses from the fertile green

Imagination of a sonneteer,
More captivating than the subject here.

 

One-Dream Child

My son, he thinks he sees a dream
Each night, always the same,
It does not change, not ever; so
Is his sincere claim.

It starts out with a slowly growing
Darkness, vast and dense,
That swallows up his sight as well
As every other sense;

There is no place where he is at,
And no time he is in,
There is no company without
And not a soul within.

Then as it comes, does it recede,
This darkness, vast and dense,
And wakes him up to wonder
Where it goes, or came it whence.

He tells us of this dream he has
At breakfast every day,
Relating every detail in
A most fantastic way.

Someday he’ll know his nightly dream
Is not a matter deep;
We just don’t have the heart to tell
Him all it is is sleep

 

Khalid Mukhtar is a software engineer and poet living in Illinois.

Featured Image: Charles Lee, a Falun Gong practitioner, shows a pair of “Homer Simpson” slippers like the ones he made while incarcerated in a Chinese labor camp.  (Courtesy of NTD Television)

 

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