Read the complete poem here: https://classicalpoets.org/2013/12/12/two-psalms/#/

Poetry: Evan Mantyk (b. 1982)
Audio/Visual Work: Society of Classical Poets
Voice-Over: Evan Mantyk Photos/Footage:
(1) Stock footage (“Bangkok Train From Above at Sunset”) provided by Videvo, downloaded from www.videvo.net (Videvo Attribution License);
(2) “In the Foothills” (1861) by Albert Bierstadt (public domain);
(3) “Socrates Address” (1867) by Louis Joseph Lebrun (public domain)
(4) Stock footage (“Light Rays Over Green Hillside”) provided by Videvo, downloaded from www.videvo.net (Videvo Attribution License);
(5) Stock footage (“4K Abstract Christmas Tree Bokeh 1”) provided by Videvo, downloaded from www.videvo.net (Videvo Attribution License);
(6) “Honor in a Chinese Labor Camp” by Rob Counts
(7) Stock footage (“Vintage Globe China”) provided by Videvo, downloaded from www.videvo.net” (Royalty-Free License);
(8) “Falun Gong Eve of Persecution” (Faluninfo.net)
(9) Photo of the oil painting “The Call of Innocence” (2005) by Chen Xiaoping (clearharmony.net)
(10) Stock footage (“Winter Dream Background”) provided by Moonrise, downloaded from www.videvo.net (Royalty-Free License);
(11) “Fireworks Finale” provided by Beachfront, downloaded from www.videvo.net (Creative Commons 3.0 Unported

Music: (1) Pieces – Royalty-Free Music by https://audiohub.com
(2) Good Night my dear – Royalty-Free Music by



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17 Responses

  1. Peter Hartley

    Evan, this is all very sad and terribly moving and you have a clear, matter-of-fact and excellent voice to read it. I have visited China as a tourist and of course saw the Terracotta Army and the Great Wall and the Forbidden City and everything China was proud to show me but of course no tourist is going to learn the ugly realities of slave labour and torture. Thank you for this little bit of an eye-opener.

    • Evan Mantyk

      Thank you, Peter. Yes, today’s CCP-controlled China is careful to keep certain areas looking good and foreigner friendly. It is all carefully calculated to mask the human rights atrocities (the “never again” happening again while the UN does virtually nothing).

  2. Paul Freeman

    This poem is dead on the money – and very well read.

    Thanks for the read, Evan.

  3. Jeff Eardley

    A superb production Evan with lots to think about.
    Thank you and a Happy New Year.

  4. Brian Yapko

    That this is a beautifully executed media experience is important but secondary.

    This is a poem which carries great persuasive and moral force, Evan. In form and key phrases it’s structured to parallel Longfellow’s Psalm of Life but while Longfellow’s work is rather general – entreating us to follow a more spiritual life – but your Psalm of Christmas draws deeply from a well of moral indignation concerning the materialism and wretched human rights associated with China. Your “translation” of Longfellow’s ideas works stunningly well and hits home with great force. And using Longfellow as a model subtly invokes the promise of American freedom which so many of us still believe in and take pride in.

    Unfortunately, now more than ever, it has become quite difficult to avoid buying things that are “Made in China” but doing so seems to me a moral imperative. And if one must make the purchase, it is better not do so with complacent silence. Your words “Do we care our Christmas lights/Are made by prisoners of conscience…” are especially biting in calling out our hypocrisy and suggesting a better way. Yours is not an easy message but it’s a powerful one. Thank you. In hopes of better days to come, I wish you a Happy New Year.

    • Evan Mantyk

      Thank you, Brian. I suspect the computers we are both typing on are made in China. It is impossible to escape. But we all can engage in a grass roots movement to condemn the CCP.

      Good catch. The video probably does not give credit clearly enough to Longfellow. This poem is very much mimicking his work, a work which had a large influence on me when I first started writing poetry seriously.

  5. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    The truth is never easy to deal with and this honest poetic assessment of the heinous crimes in China is a heartrending, much-needed eye-opener during times that crave the song of honesty to drown out the constant buzz of lies. This is an affecting and beautiful production. Thank you, Evan.

    • Evan Mantyk

      Thank you, Susan. A “buzz of lies” is a great way to describe what comes out of CCP-controlled China whenever a spokesman opens his mouth. These people are just criminals who belong behind bars or worse.

  6. Martin Rizley

    Is it any wonder the book of Ecclesiastes says, “For in much wisdom is much grief, And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow” (Ecclesiastes 1:18)? It would be much easier to simply close our eyes to the suffering of others and enjoy flashing Christmas lights without a thought of where they come from; but the more one increases in knowledge and learns about the horrors inflicted on others owing to barbaric, totalitarian systems of government, the more our superficial delights are tempered to some degree by a knowledge of others´ pain; and it is good that this be so, and that we not remain ignorant of what goes on in this world, that we may not be indifferent to injustice and wrong, but be moved in some measure to speak and act in opposition to it. How foolish and downright insane are those political leaders who denounce Western values of freedom, limited government and individual human rights and look to Communist China as a model of “efficient” social control. Let them spend a month in a slave laborers camp in Communist Chian and see if that changes their perspective!

    • Evan Mantyk

      Dear Martin, well said! I hear a lot of people talking about how the CCP lifted China out of poverty and made it a superpower with no real comprehension of modern China. They very likely would not want to live there if they knew the truth. Also, it was historically inevitable that whichever power emerged after WWII would have brought about modern reforms and a degree of prosperity. The reality is, people flee China constantly for the USA, Canada, and Australia, not vice versa

  7. Sally Cook

    The truth always matters; sometimes more than others. Today it is crucial.

  8. Yael

    Great video! I just came across this today. Somehow I missed it when it came out on New Year’s Eve, but better late than never, I’m glad I found it, thank you Evan. I like that you were able to highlight a contemporary horror in an aesthetically pleasing presentation, which makes it more palatable to imbibe into the awareness of the conscience.


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