To Liu Xiaobo

by Morgan Downs

Xiaobo—you are from hence forever gone.
Meanwhile, your executioners remain.
Even now, they overcast where you have lain
And scrape as best they can your measure on
An ignominious oblivion,
Hunting after an afterlife—in vain.
The cudgel and the prison may profane
What has been; what has been is not undone.
The despot lives, but only presently,
One with the caprice of his reprimand,
And transient as the masque of sovereignty.
The righteous from conception but ascend
Into the eons, a fraternity
Whose truth is their eternal fatherland.

Morgan Downs is a poet in his 20s living in Massachusetts. 


Let’s Raise Our Cup

by Evan Mantyk

Let’s raise our cup to Liu Xiaobo,
Who shined a light on China’s ills;
But ‘fore the cup from lip does fall,
Let’s raise it up until it spills;

We’ll raise it up for Gao Zhisheng,
The lawyer still in house arrest,
A hero who has gone unsung,
Who’s beaten down and put to test;

We’ll raise it up for Falun Gong
Who’re victimized but always calm,
Exposing how the Party’s wrong,
Unwavering, yet branch of palm.

We’ll raise and raise forevermore,
And drink away the blood red shore.

Evan Mantyk teaches history and literature in the Hudson Valley region of New York. 


Liu Xiaobo (1955-2017)

by Lu “Reed ABCs” Wei

“China remains a prison of the mind: prosperity without liberty.” —Liao Yiwu

Two days before release of Charter Zero-Eight was shown
the Chinese Communist Police arrested Liu Xiaobo.
His crime was that he called for human rights, democracy,
and greater freedom of expression, less bureaucracy.
In prison, he was not allowed to meet with legal help.
Confined in solitary, he was only offered health.

It took the Chinese Communists six months to charge him for
suspicion of incitement to subvert the Chinese Core.
In 2010, Liu Xiaobo got the Nobel Prize for Peace.
In 2017 he died, and had not been released.
Before he died, the Beijing PSB said he’d confessed;
and liver cancer took him off—the Party’s happy guest.

Lu “Reed ABCs” Wei is a poet living in Washington State

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2 Responses

  1. Lu "Reed ABCs" Wei

    Kudos to Mr. Mantyk, who, in his iambic tetrametres, keeps before us people, like Gao Zhisheng, “A hero who has gone unsung.” I am reminded, even if only peripherally, of Thomas Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard,” and I appreciate the thought.

  2. The Society

    A relevant poem recently submitted to the Society. Find Liu Xiaobo’s name in one of the lines..

    On Weibo
    Li “Web Crease” Du

    On Weibo, searches for his name result in zero hits.
    It is as if he is a man who cannot now exist.
    The lightning thunderstorm above Beijing must mark the end
    of some heroic figure who in darkness must descend.
    An empty chair sits on a rug within a circle’s light.
    but it cannot now be discussed—this dark and empty night.
    He had no hatred and no enemies, but no one dare
    repeat those words, because they were too dangerous to air.
    The censors are now out in force; but do not say good-bye.
    Light up his eXit and observe his going with a sigh.


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