The Commissars Oppose Falun Gong

They were old, had lost their youth,
So, like the old, repressed the Truth.

They fumbled, rigid in expression,
So stiff – they lacked Compassion.

Their purpose was interference,
Lacking right Forbearance.

In all this, all they had lost:
Truth, Compassion, Forbearance –
No Tao, but stuck at their dead post,
Trapped without deliverance.




Noah Survives Cancer

He hammered on: no other way
It seemed to him to miss the storm;
And all the while they ate and drank,
Got married too, and all seemed calm.

They heard him hammer planks and knew
Another nail stuck in the hulk
That was a coffin which never would
Float for all he might do, or talk.

They laughed, why would they not? What folly
Is in the heart of man, and reigns –
Until a day come, more like night,
A pitter of unfamiliar rains?

He shut the hatch down; they took cover,
Certain as time was it would soon,
Like this interrupt, blip, be over:
Three fifty days, no sun, no moon.

Storm? You could call it that – more like
The great titan Typhon’s pursuit
Of Zeus and all living things:
Life’s orchestra now just one flute.

As he emerged into a world
He had not imagined before,
So unlike the one he had left,
He blinked. Had he survived for sure?

Nothing would ever be the same
Again; there would be no return;
Though, note, how grateful Noah was
To see light, the while his tears burn

And burn.


Love to Lose

When ‘v’ shifts to ‘s’ the change occurs:
The one we don’t want because this one hurts;
When ‘v’ shifts to ‘s’ it’s a backward motion –
True witchcraft that paralyses the heart.

When ‘v’ shifts to ‘s’ then something is wrong:
The misstep of live becoming our lies,
While bathing deep in a toxic ocean –
Drinking damnation to its bitter lees.

When ‘v’ shifts to ‘s’ they call out, ‘It’s real’:
Pragmatic people take comfort in loss;
When ‘v’ shifts to ‘s’ there is no potion
Or curative making reality less.

When ‘s’ shifts to ‘v’ – then sound has voice:
All’s in reverse so Lazarus heals;
When ‘s’ shifts to ‘v’ there’s then the option –
Togetherness comes and humans are whole.



James Sale FRSA is an inspiring public speaker, fluent writer of management, educational, and spiritual ideas with nearly 20 books to his credit listed on Amazon. He is Europe’s leading expert, trainer and coach on motivation and performance, and the creator and licensor of Motivational Maps worldwide. Maps are now in six languages and in twelve countries. James has been writing poetry and about poetry for over 40 years. His educational texts include, The Poetry Show volumes 1-3 (with David Orme, Macmillan 1987), Poetry Street 1-3 (with David Orme, Longmans 1991) and Blueprints Poetry (Thornes, 1998). He has appeared in many UK magazines (and is about to appear in the USA in the Anglican Theological Review) and had seven collections of poems published, including most recently, Inside the Whale, his metaphor for being in hospital and surviving cancer, which afflicted him in 2011. James has been a Quaker for 11 years.


Featured Image: “A Battle Between Good and Evil” by Zhiping Wang. Description: The man and woman in the forefront hold signs that read “Truth, Compassion, Forbearance,” and “The Law rectifies the universe.” The spirits of the plainclothes policemen bow before their victims, suggesting that the police have been deluded by higher authorities into carrying out orders against their own conscience.

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The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or commentary.

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6 Responses

    • james sale

      Thank you Shari Jo. I see from your bio that you and I have something big in common: surviving notable illnesses/operations! Well done. Keep me posted on the progress of your publication – I’d like to read it when it’s out.

  1. Reid McGrath

    The metaphor works well as Noah’s condition really syncs with the isolation and aloneness a cancer patient must feel: i.e. “And all the while they ate and drank, / Got married too, and all seemed calm.” Noah’s emergence into the new world he “had not imagined before” is also a wonderful encapsulation of the cancer survivor’s nascent and refreshing opportunity to keep on keeping on in a world that looks entirely different.

    • james sale

      Thanks Reid – you are very sensitive and perceptive: to return to the light, ah yes, that is an experience unlike any other I have ever had. So just as Noah is a metaphor for it, so is Inside the Whale, my collection about it (excluding Noah, which wasn’t written then) and the idea of returning like Jonah.

  2. NealD

    initially, I thought Evan Mantyk had written this. Serious cheers to you both, then.


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