Chapter II: Visions and Dreams

(For Chapter I click here.)

THE band and locals, totaling fourteen,
Retired to rest before the looming day.
Some went to sleep but most in silence sat,
Now meditating, clearing thoughts that prey.
With legs both folded firm and yet relaxed,
Their bodies felt the surging energy: Gong,
A numb electric feeling, strong, immense,
Like flowers blooming, light waves growing strong.
Amidst the current, thick thoughts washed away
And left the third eye seeing things more clear.
They floated high through pristine clouds to realms
Above the mundane world of dust and drear
To golden palaces of lofty height
With ancient pillars timelessly designed
And many balconies, tranquil respites;
The bridges, walkways, arches all aligned.
Amidst the brilliant scene, beings divine
All carried on, a holy task for each,
Refining arts and skills and wisdom vast,
That can into man’s heart and conscience reach.
From them, grand waves of music resonate
Celestial maidens, joyful cherubs play
The gentle winds of fate, and pluck life’s strings,
With Truth, Compassion, Tolerance, they sway,
While splendid phoenixes, winged horses fly,
Appearing when you least expect they will,
And faeries, nymphs, and flowing deities
Do nimbly dance about with magic skill.
All this is nestled within shaded woods
Of secrets undisclosed and winding streams,
Upon the soaring dangerous mountain tops,
Reflecting in a lake of placid dreams,

But then the brilliant vision faded fast,
Another scene appeared before Kai’s mind:
Practitioners headed to Tiananmen Square
And evil forces keeping them behind:
Through interference, barriers, myriad traps,
For many had arrived in town by train.
Policemen waited there and at their feet
Were photos that no practitioner would stain
Because they showed the face of Master Li,
Who founded Falun Gong some years before.
They filed off trains in lines so densely packed
They barely saw their legs, much less the floor.
The moment came to exit, leave the train;
They jumped and ran or stopped and then were pushed,
Police made sure not many got away,
Into backseats, the practitioners were smooshed.
And others walking there in groups were stopped;
Police searched them, and their big banners found.
And others, sly police got at their homes;
They’d spied on phone calls, sneaked and snooped around.
And others were afraid to take a stand;
They made their own excuses to stay home,
The “Party’s mouthpiece” (media deranged)
Had poisoned all the air beneath sky’s dome.
The dragon red had cast its shadow down,
And roared and eaten any in its way.
It tore them limb from limb without a thought,
Its lust for blood and power in full play.

Kai’s hopes now dashed for what he thought he’d see,
Tomorrow when he went to Tiananmen
To stand up tall for what is right and good;
He realized now how naïve he had been.
No flood of banners would make justice float,
Nor choir of voices call to noble shores.
They would be drowned by waves of tyranny,
And then locked up, and tortured, killed, in scores.
As chilling fear crept over Kai’s strong frame,
He said almost audibly in his mind:

“I said I would go by myself, didn’t I?
My character is really of what kind?
I’ll make those coward thoughts just die away;
I’ll not give up as I now take this test;
Let nothing come and block my sacred way,
Which is, for all involved, the truly best!”

He fought off sleep, then they all finished up,
Collapsed on cots, they deeply slept in peace.
And meanwhile Mr. He, had no such rest,
His mind was running, panting, without cease.
His dream, which was no normal dream at all,
Began with ringing sounds, an urgent call,
His wife and son, were at the Square for fun.
An earthquake struck, and buildings made to fall:
She said,

“Oh no! What do we do, my dear?
The road is blocked, the city’s crumbling down
Please come quick and help us get back home,
Before into disaster’s mouth we drown!”

Distressed, He said,

“But where’ll I park my car?”

Fanti yelled,

“Don’t be such a, stupid man!
You could ride your bicycle over here;
Oh please do something, whatever you can!”

He set out quickly grabbing things he’d need,
A flashlight, batt’ries (quickly dusk approached),
His keys and wallet, extra cash, work gloves,
In case debris upon the road encroached.
And then he found his jacket, shoes, and hat,
But his sleek shoes were not the proper ones,
He had another pair he wanted now,
But one was missing—meanwhile, out time runs!
He looked, he looked, and still he looked some more.
Another chain of earthquakes toppled him.
The frantic man looked for the stupid shoe
As wife and son’s outlooks turned yet more grim.
The middle of the Square began to crack,
And spread into a hole, a black abyss,
And screaming people tried to quick escape
Its exponential growth, but none were missed.

Then Mr. He woke up, his body drenched,
His senses swirled, both heart and mind alarmed,
As cool relief that life was fine reached him,
And after seeing that his son’s unharmed,
A nagging feeling, failure, plagued him still,
Disgusted him and made him hate himself,
Realizing dreams held truth from Heaven’s realms.
Upon the Buddha image on the shelf,
He gazed and called himself to task inside.
He resolutely faced his words that day
And swore an oath he’d go to Tiananmen,
And join the ranks of followers of the Way.

Next, they, the cousins, shared a single dream:
Two warriors meeting on the battlefield,
Both ready now to run each other through,
To slit a throat, ensure that fate is sealed.
The first to speak was Kai, with spear in hand,

“My name is Ache, the son of Golden Hawk,
His father Stout was Adamantine’s son,
Descended from the Lord of Thunder’s stock.
Sir Golden Hawk, unstoppable as he was,
Led many battles, fought in endless wars,
One night while riding out to join a fray,
An angel brought a message from the stars:

‘Your wife is pregnant now; a new son comes.
He’ll be much stronger than you ever were,
But while you live he’ll die in brutal war,
His fame will come, but suffering too for sure.’

“So bring me what you have you sorry man,
I’ve much to do before my fame is earned,
And when this ends I’ll take some special care,
To treat your carcass well, see that it’s burned.”

Then Mr. He, responded to his foe:

“My name is Hurt, the son of Honor Bound;
His father Brave was Intrepid One’s son,
And I have too a prophecy profound.
It’s said, anointed by a goddess fair,
No weapon from man’s hand may pierce my skin.
So try your best but many have all failed
When shaving I can’t even nick my chin!”

Ache shrugged his shoulders, charged up to his foe.
He dodged Hurt’s flying spear and flung his own,
A mighty force, it knocked right over Hurt;
Upon his neck Ache’s foot had quickly flown.
Ache said:

“No need to kill you with my hand,
A mortal foot should do the job just fine,
But tell me first, who was Intrepid One?
Was he too from the Lord of Thunder’s line?”

Then Hurt replied:

“Indeed I think he was,
And he directly was the son of Void.

“And Void, was Adamantine’s father too,”
Ache said, “Which means a fact I can’t avoid,
That you and I come from the Peerless Void,
Among us mortals, there’s no greater name,
So let us give each other splendid gifts,
And we can kill elsewhere and still earn fame.”

The two embraced, gave gifts of war and went
Upon their winding ways through death and life.

Then Kai and Mr. He awoke in light,
And slurped a breakfast made by He’s good wife.
They scanned each other, looking for a clue
Kai politely asked if He would go to work,
And Mr. He smiled broadly, and then said,

“Of course, my work is not something I shirk,
Today a major deadline has arrived:
The goal’s to increase our righteous outputs,
To streamline out attachment to cut costs,
And tighten all compassion’s screws and nuts!”


The first six chapters of the planned 81-chapter Chinese Epic are included as bonus material in the rear of this adaptation of Homer’s two epics.

Evan Mantyk is a high school English teacher in the Hudson Valley region of New York


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One Response

  1. Daniel Magdalen

    The entire flow of epic images contained is very engaging to the reader. The poem mentally transports you to those scenes, which are really vivid. The characters’ voices and the thoughts they convey are rich in meaning and encourage reflection on human values. They also contribute to the dynamic quality of the episode. It’s quite an ambitious project you have embarked on, and I sincerely hope you will have the time to complete it, thus bringing us all a great epic poem, born of this contemporary topic of great significance to the collective human conscience.


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