Revised October 18, 2021 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 then become our enemy. Money’s fake! Just 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, ___Nor university degrees! But to awaken populations! ___Whose thirst for Truth will never cease! Money’s built on more ideas ___Like on what is “living well”; Does it involve clean air and trees? ___Or does it make someone’s life hell? Do we care our Christmas lights ___Are made by prisoners of conscience Tortured and deprived of rights ___That we value—or is this nonsense? What about discrimination ___That occurs outside our borders In a trading “partner” nation ___From which our shelves are all mail ordered? The Falun Gong practitioner ___Is the silent elephant Crucified with modern horror ___We all knowingly permit. We can’t not buy “Made in China” ___But we can speak loud our minds Letting ring a hopeful change ___That makes our lives a bit sublime. Let us then speak loud and strong ___Words that echo 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.