Philosophers of Marxist ilk designed
For leveled outcomes, then they slew en masse.
It pleased the Nazi socialists to grind
Up twenty million lives—hence, Zyklon gas.

The Russian cognoscenti chose to build
A communistic state; death charmed again.
The truth (not Pravda) is that Stalin killed
Nine million lives: young children, women, men.

In China, Mao took hold and planned his Great
Leap Forward; peasant hope became despair
As forty million workers met their fate.
Dead students’ shades still haunt the Beijing Square.

In Stalin’s words: “One death is tragedy,
One million’s a statistic”—none would see.



Charlie Bauer resides in Chapel Hill, NC and is a salesman for a commercial carpet manufacturer. 

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22 Responses

  1. Joseph S. Salemi

    Wow! What a great sonnet!

    The rhyme of “en masse” and “gas” is truly inspired.

    • Charlie Bauer

      Thank you sir! Your comments are very appreciated. Now I just need to fix the rhyme scheme in the third stanza… Dad gum it and a few other choice words!

      • Mark F. Stone

        Charlie, Here’s one option for the third stanza:

        In China, Mao took hold and planned his cherished
        Great Leap Forward; hope became despair
        As forty million Chinese workers perished.
        Dead students’ shades still haunt the Beijing Square.


  2. Julian D. Woodruff

    A fitting lament and warning. All of these outrages! I don’t see why, though, the 40 million Chinese deaths are made to stand out via breakage of the rhyme scheme, even admitting the greater enormity. (“Death … fate.” might be considered.)

    • Charlie Bauer

      Hi Mr. Woodruff,

      Thank you for your comments. Regarding the rhyme scheme I can only say: “Dirty word! You’re right.” It will be fixed.

  3. Sally Cook

    Dear Charlie –
    Just yesterday I read a fine poem by someone far from academia. And now, yours.
    Please, keep writing and publishing on this site.
    You are a poet.

    • Charlie Bauer

      Dear Sally,

      I am very grateful for the kind comments you have posted on a few of my poems. Would you mind sharing your email through Mr. Mantyk? I was hoping to ask you for a little advice.

      Wishing you the very best,


      • Sally Cook

        I have requested that Mr. Mantyk do this when a free moment presents itself to him. .

  4. C.B. Anderson

    History is a hellhole of atrocity, and we can’t be reminded of that fact too often. Let’s hope that a few (or many) sane voices will stem that tide. I’m not optimistic, but I find it necessary to express that sentiment nonetheless.

    • Charlie Bauer

      Hi C.B.! Hope you are well. You’re right, history can be pretty depressing and I definitely agree with your comment about the necessity of being reminded.

  5. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    The spot-on title showcases this grave poetic warning perfectly and at no stage does the form detract from the chilling message. A privilege to read.

  6. The Society

    A great poem, Charlie! Thank you for sharing it. You have laid bare the inhumanity of communism and socialism with style and wit. Bravo!

  7. Charlie Bauer

    Thank you very much! It is always a delight to be published by the Society and I continue to be impressed by the forum it provides for affirming the value of classical poetry. Bravo back to you and your team!

  8. Alexander Ream


    “inhumanity” is an excellent word for communism and socialism (thanks President Evan). Gerald Ford, who joined Michigan Deke in tandem with his mother being their cook, used the word as well to describe the utopian, heaven-on-earth enforcement of the Kingdom of God prior to the return of Christ. It’s truly inhumane. Thank you for illuminating such. Please keep writing.


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