—for Li Hongzhi

The unacknowledged legislators know
the truth: the Buddha shows one thousand hands
to foster heaven’s circulation, so
the standing stance is seen throughout the lands
and strengthens the divine. We must be free
to penetrate the two cosmic extremes,
resisting persecution peacefully,
one million strong-willed souls instilling dreams
Tiananmen will fiercely hold until
the rape and torture stops—once and for all.
Thoreau and Gandhi knew the force of will,
the universal power that can fall
upon the CCP from Falun Gong.
The citizens of heaven can’t be wrong.



Claude Clayton Smith taught for two decades at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, taking early retirement in 2006. He was named ONU Professor of English, Emeritus, in 2008, during which year he served as the Claridge Writer-in-Residence at Illinois College. He is the author of eight books, co-editor/translator of two others, plus a variety of short fiction, poetry, essays, and plays. Besides reading and writing, his hobbies include fishing, golf, and softball. He was a licensed professional boxing judge in Ohio.

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3 Responses

  1. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    This is an admirably crafted sonnet with a powerful message. Any cry for freedom that shakes the foundations of totalitarianism’s evil goal sings to my heart. Thank you!

  2. Damian Robin

    Thanks, Claude, for your knowing contribution to the forbearance of Falun Gong. You allude to the exercises of the practice (‘Buddha shows one thousand hands’, ’standing stance’, ‘to penetrate the two cosmic extremes’), to the strength of practitioners, and supporters, in China as well as bringing in other, global philosophies (‘Thoreau and Ghandi’) that incorporate aspects of the ‘universal power’.

    Such a wide scope delivered with unassuming formality in a sonnet of relaxed enjambement and a careful stand-alone last line.


  3. BDW

    Li Hongzhi
    by Wu “Sacred Bee” Li
    for Claude Clayton Smith

    Thanks for reminding us of Li Hongzhi and all he’s done,
    both for America as well as for the Falun Gong.
    These epoch times require news that reaches truth that’s sound,
    amidst the lies and coverups, that swirl all around.
    These epic crimes we see around us, need to be revealed;
    we cannot let such horrid villainy remain…concealed.
    But yet, he has supported those things that inspire the mind,
    like ancient Chinese rhythms, dancing spritely and divine,
    reminding us of dharma wheel practicing qigong;
    benevolence, forbearance, honesty cannot be wrong.
    And if some tenets are too hard to fathom or believe,
    still in this World that so deceives, one can prize Li Hongzhi.


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