Photo of a Falun Gong practitioner holding a sign that reads "Truth, Compassion, Tolerance"‘A Hero’ and Other Poetry by Evan Mantyk The Society August 21, 2016 Culture, Human Rights in China, Poetry 18 Comments A Hero These are the weathered shoes worn by the Jew, So cracked from all the miles walked since he fled. These are the slave’s strong legs like trunks that grew And worked so hard until he’s beaten dead. This is the heart of Christians who’re hemmed in By beasts, while Romans laugh at them and yell. These poisoned lips of Socrates destined To die, and yet in virtue ever dwell. This banner is the shield of Spartan men Outnumbered by a thousand foes to one; Its moral words in Chinese: Zhen-Shan-Ren* Are spears of truth that no one can outrun. The Falun Gong man now before you stands, A hero for all times and for all lands. *Zhen-Shan-Ren: Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance, the three main principles of the peaceful spiritual practice, Falun Gong, which is banned and persecuted in China. On My Poor Chinese After John Milton When I am sitting in a meeting long Where Chinese words evade my sluggish mind, I feel a failure of the dumbest kind: My clunky words mean nothing, right nor wrong; My thoughts like misheard lyrics to a song, “Is it shí or shǐ, I’m not sure,” I’m blind And losing meaning’s glimmer grow resigned To Daydream’s foggy melodies sing along. The gracious Translator remembers me And shares a glimpse of the inspiring view: The plan that seems impossible advanced Against a huge and evil enemy. It hits me then: “There’s much to learn and do,” And all my senses buzz and grow enhanced. The Giant (Time Warner Cable Cuts Independent Chinese Channel ) There is a giant on whose back we ride— And by my “we” our civilization I mean— Such that if he falls down or hurts his side We face collapse, an awkward bloody scene. Who is this mammoth man we owe so much? I don’t know, just that I wish he’d keep still! He wiggles a lot and threatens our clutch I wonder if soon he’ll finally spill! He doesn’t like when we tighten our grip; His collar gets wrinkled, which ticks him off; He wants us each to relax for the trip— I tell you this so we’ll be better off. Now you, Time Warner, help loosen the grip That Red China has, so we all don’t slip. Evan Mantyk is a high school English teacher living in the Hudson Valley of New York. 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)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 18 Responses Carol Smallwood August 21, 2016 Enjoyed the poems and would like to know what type they are? There used to be a reliable website with definitions of formal poetry which isn’t around anymore. Do you know of a good one? Reply Evan Mantyk August 21, 2016 Thank you, Carol, The first and third are Shakespearean sonnets, the second is a Petrarchen sonnet. More on sonnets here: http://classicalpoets.org/write-poetry-sonnets-easy-to-hard/ Reply Neal Dachstadter August 21, 2016 Three gems; the second is a fine combination of creativity and approximation. Reply james sale August 22, 2016 Excellent – especially the Hero: the concluding couplet is consummate in its power and force. Reply Damian Robin August 23, 2016 Thanks for the uplifting , humourous (the UK spelling) and informative verse. The article linked with the third poem – The Giant – is disturbing. Time Warner Cable had 17 Chinese language TV stations in the US. How odd that the one it has severed because of a business dispute is the only one not kowtowing to the regime in China. The remaining 16 are (according to the article) “either mouthpieces for the Chinese regime, strongly influenced by it, or toe the line in more subtle ways—the movie channels, for instance, that would never screen “Seven Years in Tibet”.” Great that we can be passed on to these issues of freedom by poetry. Can anyone find any other info on this situation of NTD tv in New YorK? The article was from June 30. Reply Evan Mantyk August 23, 2016 I looked to no avail. I think Time Warner is still in the dark. Reply Damian Robin August 26, 2016 Thanks for quick reply, Evan. I have not found anything more. BTW I’m replying late as I forgot to tick the ‘Notify me of follow-up comments by email.’ box. :^/ Daniel Magdalen August 27, 2016 Very good and dynamic sonnets! Capturing the contemporary world stage in but a few lines of touching poetry is something really rare. Reply Joseph Charles MacKenzie September 27, 2016 This is exactly the kind of unity of grammar and structure that Boileau had in mind when he said “le sens coupant les mots,” the sense cutting the verses, shall we say. Technically excellent poems, but not merely that. These are full of meaning. We see love, death, and the passage of time, so there is, indeed lyricism. But Mr. Mantyk has also demonstrated the adaptability of the sonnet to a large and expansive satire of human life in its relation to global politics and China, I think in the most powerful possible way and certainly in the most original way. Reply Evan Mantyk September 28, 2016 Thank you, sir! I regard your praise highly. Reply b October 4, 2016 tagged you http://wp.me/p7R4Mp-4Q Reply Damian Robin October 5, 2016 Wow, the site this page is now tagged to has subtle thought links. https://sciencewisdomforlife.wordpress.com/2016/10/04/an-exercise-in-the-artistic-2/ Though there is a spelling mistake on this page I think: ‘there’ > ‘the’ or ‘their’ ?? The connections the posts make there have subtle slight of hand. = Magic. Reply John Kolyav January 10, 2017 Three well-crafted poems! The first and the third attracted me more. The last one, rich in symbolism is a classical one while “A Hero” is very powerful and effective poem. Expression and conclusion are splendid. It is high time for international communities to wake up! Reply Tomás Ó Cárthaigh January 22, 2017 I enjoyed how the concept of the oppressed in generations before is tied in with the current trials of the Falun Gong. As for the third, if Red China falls, the manufacturing capacity of the world will take a massive hit and prices will skyrocket. We should be careful what we wish for… Reply Evan January 22, 2017 The third is the worst of the three because of its ambiguity. It is meant to say only that China should loosen its grip lest it jeopardize the underlying values of human civilization which has some form of collective sentience (the giant) and thus sense of right and wrong. Reply T Rodriguez March 1, 2017 Thank you Evan for three very powerful and moving sonnets! “A Hero” brought tears to my eyes! Reply Wendy Bourke April 30, 2017 These are beautifully rendered sonnets. Rhyme – done this masterfully – is a joy to read. Wonderful writing! Reply Evan May 1, 2017 Thank you, Wendy! 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