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Congratulations to the winners! Readings of the top three winning poems have been published here:

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FIRST PLACE

Connected

by Sasha Palmer

I’m Russian-born, live in the USA,
I’m Catholic, and Falun Gong to me—
A chain of cryptic hieroglyphs that say
Nothing of consequence; and yet I see—
Beyond the mystery—a familiar sight
As crouching tigers, hidden dragons fade
And all that’s left is people, whom I might
Have known forever, closely; should I trade
Places with them, would I remain steadfast
In my own faith? Would I refuse to bow
Before the human idols? Would I cast
My fear aside? I do not know. Somehow
__I know this: when another victim falls,
__Don’t ask for whom the bell of freedom tolls.

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SECOND PLACE

The Devil’s Definition 

by Susan Jarvis Bryant

The Dragon’s claw is slick with rawest red 
From spoils that keep the greedy demons fed 
With hearts from souls caught by the Dragon’s eye 
Sold to a world that buys the Dragon’s lie—

A world that twists the gist of honest words 
To hide the feasting beasts from senseless herds 
Who bleat the mangled mantra of reform  
Till genocide’s “a different cultural norm.” 

When brains are washed in propaganda’s guile 
Then backs are turned on tyrannies so vile
The slaughter of the Falun Gong’s dismissed 
As devils deal in crimes that don’t exist.  

So never let the Dragon normalize  
Barbaric acts all humans should despise—
Massacre occurs when ears won’t hear  
The sin concealed in spin that’s insincere. 

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THIRD PLACE

The Broken Kingdom

by Brian Yapko

Dare to look at China through a glass
Undarkly past the shining spires of steel
Which hide barbed wire. See the Party brass
Make laws coercing people not to feel.
See prisons sprout in sight of the Great Wall
And see the Yangtze clotted red with blood.
Regard the bones on which each garish mall
Is built—old virtues ground into the mud.
Then see our Friends of Freedom robbed of breath
Tormented to insanity or death.

Joyce described the sow that eats her young.
Well, Party leaders also eat their own;
They propagate the worst of Mao Tse Tung
Debasing freedom from a Marxist throne.
This harsh totalitarian regime
Which causes dissidents to disappear
Has squandered China’s birthright with its scheme
To stamp out faith and hope with guns and fear.
Smash the temples! Plant informants! Spy!
Force men what to think. Then make them die.

Karma guarantees the Party’s noose
Must one day strangle its own cold cabal.
Every act of torture, each abuse
Will bring it closer to its final fall.
Leaders that crush freedom into sand,
Who can’t persuade and therefore must enslave
Must soon be driven from this broken land
Where they’ve failed to break the good and brave.
Inspired by the truth of wrong and right,
Falun Gong shall surely win this fight!

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FOURTH PLACE

West Looking East

by Raz Bosoaga

What does freedom mean to you?
The right to live, to learn and to pursue
A life of meaning and one of choice
Free to be you and have your voice.
To practice faith or lack thereof,
But to have that choice, to choose to love
Or to choose to live a life that’s led
By a set of principles that spread
Honesty, benevolence, restraint.
To be loving, to forgive and not to taint
Your heart with evil, lies or hate.
Falun Gong these rules create
Aimed to instill and to procure
A life of peace and one that’s pure.
How can such faith, such true love shown,
Turn Chinese government on their own?
We watch the news, here in the West,
Countless Falun Gong oppressed,
Countless stories never told
Countless victims, young and old.
What principle means that they must face,
Such persecution, such constant chase?
People tortured; people dead.
People arrested as in their head
They dared to believe in something more
Dared to think it’s worth standing for
Humanity, truth, freedom to believe
To choose one’s faith and to conceive
That we’re all born pure, goodness innate.
Such passive teachings attacked by state.
The hammer swings, the sickle reaps,
A harvest plentiful as a mother weeps.
The crop of genocide laid bare,
People massacred, butchered with little care
“Re-educated,” tortured, organs sold—
But there’s one thing the state can’t hold.
That they can’t scare, slash nor silence
Falun Gong, for freedom, in defiance
Stand united, driven by belief from within
Freedom, love and peace will always win.

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12 Responses

  1. James Sale

    I shall be discussing and reading out your winning poem on the 23rd May, Sasha, and I am looking forward to it.

    Reply
  2. BRIAN YAPKO

    Congratulations, Sasha, Susan and Raz — it’s an honor and a privilege to be in your company!

    Reply
  3. Sally Cook

    Thank you all, winners, for your individual ways of
    approaching the awful stratification of thought and
    straitjacketing of spirit ongoing in the East.
    To Sasha, Susan, Brian and Raz, thank you each for the uniqueness of your response

    Reply
  4. Damian Robin

    Indeed, congratulations all of you. Strong, forward-moving statements, uplifting, rousing, encouraging. I hope many will read these and take note of their conviction of the ultimate demise of the CCP and ultimate rise of Falun Gong and the Righteous. Well done and thank you.

    Reply
  5. Damian Robin

    I guess I’m being partisan in the above comment. The poems are very different and nuanced and tell individual approaches to the global conflict whose epicenter is in China. Thanks again, Sasha, Susan, Brian, Raz.

    Reply
  6. Margaret Coats

    Four very intriguing poems of different style and viewpoint, all of them worthwhile reading for poetic skill and significant content. Congratulations to the winners, and thank you to everyone who devoted time and talent to the contest.

    Reply
  7. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    A huge CONGRATULATIONS! to Sasha, Brian and Raz. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your unique poems and I’m honored and humbled to have my poem printed alongside you all. Thank you too for the wonderful words of congratulations and encouragement from the commenters. I’m thrilled!

    Reply
  8. Yael

    All winning entries are a pleasure to read. First place is most impressive and really drives home to me the significance and tragedy of the persecution of peaceful citizens in search of self improvement.

    Reply

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