“Tiger Bench” by Zhiping Wang, depicting a common torture method used on Falun Gong practitioners.‘Cell Block Twenty-Nine’ and Other Poetry by David Watt The Society November 23, 2018 Beauty, Culture, Deconstructing Communism, Human Rights in China, Poetry 10 Comments Cell Block Twenty-Nine I haven’t seen the sun for days, Nor felt Compassion’s gentle ways; My body’s weak, but courage stays, In Cell Block Twenty-Nine. They tell me “Falun Gong’s a lie!” And if I don’t renounce, I’ll die For price of liver, lung, or eye, In Cell Block Twenty-Nine. They type my tissue, take my blood Until my veins refuse to flood; And as result, I fall with thud In Cell Block Twenty-Nine. Please let this misery be done; Not for my sake, for everyone Who lives in pain, and yearns for sun, In Cell Block Twenty-Nine. Andromache’s Plea Based on the farewell scene from Book VI of Homer’s Iliad Love shows her truest face in times of war, As Hector’s wife, Andromache, made clear. Although she understood their fate was sure; These pointed words she thrust, sharp as a spear: “I would be better dead and buried: gone, If valour leads you to Destruction’s door! Because, without you, how could I go on? You are my husband, family, much more! Astyanax is still a babe in arms; His memories of you will fade to scars. With tear beclouded eyes, bereft of charms, I’ll look on lonely nights instead of stars”. Said Hector: “Only cowards sit and shirk While Trojans brave face up to Freedom’s work!” David Watt is a writer from Canberra, the “Bush Capital” of Australia. He is Winner of the 2018 Friends of Falun Gong Poetry Competition. He has contributed regularly to Collections of Poetry and Prose by Robin Barratt. When not working for IP (Intellectual Property) Australia, he finds time to appreciate the intrinsic beauty of traditional rhyming poetry. 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) Related 10 Responses David Hollywood November 23, 2018 Great poetry on both counts David, both forlorn with tragic outcomes, and you certainly picked very strong descriptions and sentiments and put them together with tremendous control and structure. Thank you. Reply David Watt November 23, 2018 Thank you David for your appreciation of these poems. Matching description with complementary formal structure is something I always aim to achieve. Reply Joseph Tessitore November 23, 2018 Powerful stuff, David – very well done. I will always be impressed with the fact that you have the wherewithal to write about this. Reply David Watt November 23, 2018 Thank you Mr. Tessitore! There are such a wide range of poetic subjects to choose from in regard to contemporary issues, and great classical works. Reply Joseph S. Salemi November 23, 2018 In line 12, “tear-beclouded” is a compound adjective, and needs a hyphen. Reply David Watt November 23, 2018 Thanks Joe for picking this up. I will amend my copy to include the hyphen. Reply James Sale November 23, 2018 I like these poems, especially Andromache’s Plea. The ending reminds me of that wonderful cavalier poem by Lovelace, To Lucasta Going to the Wars, and quoting from memory: “I could not love you half so much, / Loved I not honour more”, which conveys I think your sentiment too. The purpose of life is not to exist, but to be consumed by a higher purpose and the transcendent order of things. Well done, David. Reply David Watt November 24, 2018 Thank you James for your thoughtful comments. You are quite right in saying that we are here for a higher purpose, and that this is my sentiment in “Andromache’s Plea”. “To Lucasta Going to the Wars” is an astute comparison, at least in regard to the sentiment expressed. Reply Walibee Scrude December 1, 2018 Mr. Watt’s “Cell Block 29” reminds me of Romantic Keats’ “La Belle Dame Sans Merci, Victorian Tennyson’s “Lady of Shallott”, and Postmodernist Silverstein’s “Sick”; but the topic, the tone, and the attitude are wrong for that juxtaposition. Maybe the author, or some other reader, could more clearly contextualize it in English (including Australian) literature. Nevertheless, the skeleton of the poem is good; and though the poem could be improved, the refrain works well, especially when it has to pay double duty. Mr. Watt reminds me, as do Mr. Sedia, Ms. Foreman, and so many others here @ SCP of the importance of music in our verses, even as some are striving for a more rational and encompassing poetry, a more spiritual and ethical poetry, a more scientific and rugged poetry, a more powerful and enduring poetry. As we nearly complete 18% of the 21st century, there are so many things to hold in the balance, if our attempts to advance English literature and letters in our era are successful, in Australia, in New Zealand, in Singapore, in India, in South Africa, in Kenya, in Nigeria, in the United Kingdom, in Ireland, in Canada in the United States, etc. Who knows what we might not accomplish now that we have our own Thersites, Mr. B—-, alongside our eBullient Boosters, who are everywhere in the woodwork? For some reason I am reminded of Pound’s Vortex! Reply David Watt December 2, 2018 Hello Wallibee, Thank you for taking the time to consider and comment on “Cell Block 29.” I am certainly a fan of Keats, and Romantic poetry in general. On the other hand, I enjoy adding humor to my poetry, if the topic allows. There are also Australian influences, including Banjo Patterson, from which I try to learn more. You hit on what I think is a critical aspect of formal poetry: musicality. Musicality is what makes a formal poem enjoyable to read. We all strive to match a suitable poetic form to a particular topic. Rhythm, or musicality, adds the remaining touches. In mentioning Pound’s “Vortex”, I believe you allude to ‘directing maximum energy.’ The likes of Sedia, Foreman, and others here at SCP are doing just that, in a sincere effort to advance English literature. We are fortunate to have the SCP as a platform from which to launch this effort. 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