A Psalm of Christmas, A Psalm of Life The Society December 12, 2013 Beauty, Falun Dafa, Poetry A Psalm of Christmas What the heart of the young activist said to the psalmist By Evan Mantyk Tell me not in boring numbers About today’s economy, For our consciences grow numb-er And become our own enemy. Money’s not real! It’s an idea! It’s a value agreed to give; It’s a home, clothes, and a meal It’s a means, not an end, to live! Not an end after won elections Not an end after more degrees! But to awaken populations! And find something greater to be! Money is built on more ideas Like on what it means to live well; Does it involve clean air and trees? Or does it make someone’s life hell? Do we care that our Christmas lights Are made by prisoners of faith, Tortured and deprived of the rights We value, or so we sayeth? What about discrimination That occurs outside our borders In a trading “partner” nation From which our shelves are mail ordered? The Falun Gong practitioner Is the world’s silent elephant Crucified with modern horror That we all knowingly permit. We can’t not buy “Made in China” But we can speak loud our brave minds And let ring a meaningful change That makes our lives a bit sublime. Let us then speak out loud and strong With words of both truth and cheer: “Merry Christmas, free Falun Gong, And have a prosperous New Year!” Evan Mantyk is an English teacher and poet living in New York. Featured Image: “Shock” by Xiaoping Chen portrays the scene in a modern Chinese jail house, where a practitioner of the spiritual practice Falun Gong had been beaten because of the Chinese regime’s campaign to eradicate the faith. (Falunart.org) A Psalm of Life What the heart of the young man said to the Psalmist By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Tell me not, in mournful numbers, Life is but an empty dream! For the soul is dead that slumbers, And things are not what they seem. Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal; Dust thou art, to dust returnest, Was not spoken of the soul. Not enjoyment, and not sorrow, Is our destined end or way; But to act, that each to-morrow Find us farther than to-day. Art is long, and Time is fleeting, And our hearts, though stout and brave, Still, like muffled drums, are beating Funeral marches to the grave. In the world’s broad field of battle, In the bivouac of Life, Be not like dumb, driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife! Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant! Let the dead Past bury its dead! Act,—act in the living Present! Heart within, and God o’erhead! Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time;— Footprints, that perhaps another, Sailing o’er life’s solemn main, A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, Seeing, shall take heart again. Let us, then, be up and doing, With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing, Learn to labor and to wait. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) is regarded as the greatest American poet. At the time he wrote, before movies, television, and radio, he was extremely popular and his poetry was a source of national interest and entertainment. He used European styles but often wrote on uniquely American subjects. In past generations, students were required to study his poems in school and children often grew up listening to his rhymes. 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) Related Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.