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FIRST PLACE

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Free to Be the PRC

by James A. Tweedie

According to the PRC’s unwritten protocol,
To be Chinese these days it seems you can’t be Falun Gong.
Your race or where you’re born no longer matter much at all.
You have to be an atheist in order to belong.

Good citizen or not, unless you bow to Xi Jinping
You’ll find yourself condemned as one of China’s enemies.
No longer viewed as human by the Party, but a “thing”
Whose life and body parts the government is free to seize.

To have a faith in God or something greater than the state
Will mark you as a traitor and could lead to your arrest,
With prison or a labor camp your destiny and fate,
As many who have suffered through such trials will attest.

How strange that only Communists can call themselves Chinese,
While Uigurs, Jews and Christians are held worthy to condemn.
But Chinese on Formosa who declare they’re Taiwanese,
Are part of what the PRC declares belongs to them.

How sad that people are condemned for being who they are
Unless they publicly abandon all that they believe.
Or bow and scrape before some petty party commissar.
If I were in their place, I’d pack my things and try to leave.

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SECOND PLACE

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River Li in Twilight

a pantoum

by Alan Orsborn

River Li in twilight, misty
Haunting mountains of limestone karst
Rooftops over Guilin city
610 Office where trials are farced.

Haunting mountains of limestone karst
In a half-remembered cavern
610 Office where trials are farced
Barely buried, fresh cadavers.

In a half-remembered cavern
Seven souls of the Falun Gong
Barely buried, fresh cadavers
Slits in their sides twelve inches long.

Seven souls of the Falun Gong
Sleep enshrined in oblivion
Slits in their sides twelve inches long
Honest owners of Zhen Shan Ren.

Sleep enshrined in oblivion
Pagodas of the Sun and Moon
Honest owners of Zhen Shan Ren
Paths with peach blossoms lightly strewn.

Pagodas of the Sun and Moon
Rooftops over Guilin city
Paths with peach blossoms lightly strewn
River Li in twilight, misty.

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Poet’s Note: This poem does not commemorate any one specific historical event, but as an allegory, seeks to honor all the practitioners of Falun Dafa who perished in conjunction with the harvesting of their organs. The cavern represents all of the hidden places in which the CCP and the 610 Office do their dirty work. Guilin is an icon for China.

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THIRD PLACE

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Unbroken

by Shindy Cai

Sticks and stones can shatter bones and men can slaughter lives,
But nobody can take away the faith you hold inside.
No prison cells, no earthly hells can crush the good and kind,
There are no bullets strong enough to pierce a tempered mind.

Falun Gong seems calm and meek, a gentle exercise,
Yet from this peaceful practice did a million heroes rise.
They stand for truth and justice and they honor right from wrong,
They fight through their nonviolence, sing a silent battle song.

The CCP spent billions to persecute the wise,
To desecrate, annihilate, this movement from its eyes.
It drained the nation’s resources to try to keep the pace,
But for every noble sacrifice, a thousand filled its place.

A lie is like a ticking bomb, the countdown will not last,
And those who try to bury it are injured by the blast.
This wicked persecution of dishonesty and hate,
Shall meet with retribution in a gruesome coming fate.

The world is slowly opening its silent watchful eyes,
And people are awakening to China’s deadly lies.
It will not drink the poison it’s been force fed all these years,
And communism’s wicked sins shall pay in blood and tears.

So stand up and speak out against this dark and grisly crime,
So find your voice and join the race amidst this fleeting time.
For every voice that joins the fight and dares to say “I tried,”
Shall leave their mark in history as heroes far and wide.

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FOURTH PLACE

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Come Truthfulness

by Maura H. Harrison

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I. For the Persecutor

And where were you that day? [hung from a pipe]
Vacation? [left for days, left for three days]
July [electric shocks to pits and thighs]
Twentieth [water then intensified]
In nineteen ninety-nine? [the burning skin]

And now? [detention centers, labor camps]
Two thousand twenty-four? [harvested organs]
This persecution [pinned, pinned down, force-fed]
Still [there are guards, police, interrogation]
Goes on [the horror keeps on hanging on].

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II. For the Persecuted 

Come truthfulness—anxiety at bay—
Compassion—anger tamed and led away—
Forbearance—wisdom’s inner joy—allay.

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HONORABLE MENTION

Read the Honorable Mention poems
on the Friends of Falun Gong website here.

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“The Gentler Art” by Maureen Anne Browne

“Grandpa Doesn’t Smile Anymore” by Laura Plummer

“The Chinese Tyrant’s Torrid Terror” by Roy E. Peterson

“Heavenly Bodies” by Carissa Coane

“The Gong Sounds for Human Rights” by Helen Drayton

“To the Fallen of Falun Gong” by K.G. Munro
.

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The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or commentary.


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8 Responses

  1. James Sale

    Well done to all and especially James Tweedie who, as I understand it, is, even as I type this, roaming the fields of England for even more inspiration for his wide-ranging poetry!!!

    Reply
    • James A. Tweedie

      I am surprised, of course, but pleased to have my poem chosen while also thinking that my friend Alan had the better effort! And yes, to James Sale. My wife and I did arrive in England this morning. I immediately drive to Oxford where I stumbled about in a jet-lagged stupor while admiring Hunt’s “”Light of the World” at Keebler College and Epstein’s statue of Lazarus Twisting out of his grave clothes in the narthex of the New College Chapel. Tomorrow I will drive north to share lunch with SCPer Jeff Eardley followed by two days with SCPer Peter Hartley. James Sale says he owes me lunch after he skipped town on a holiday of his own. Someday I hope to hold him to it!

      Reply
  2. Roy Eugene Peterson

    Congratulations to those whose poetry was selected and especially to James Tweedie who far outshone us all.

    Reply
  3. Alan Orsborn

    Richly deserved congratulations to my friend and neighbor Jim who indeed did outshine us all.

    Reply
    • James A. Tweedie

      I am surprised, of course, but pleased to have my poem chosen while also thinking that my friend Alan had the better effort! And yes, to James Sale. My wife and I did arrive in England this morning. I immediately drove to Oxford where I stumbled about in a jet-lagged stupor while admiring Hunt’s “”Light of the World” at Keble College and Epstein’s statue of Lazarus Twisting out of his grave clothes in the narthex of the New College Chapel. Tomorrow I will drive north to share lunch with SCPer Jeff Eardley followed by two days with SCPer Peter Hartley. James Sale says he owes me lunch after he skipped town on a holiday of his own. Someday I hope to hold him to it!

      Reply
  4. Jeff Eardley

    It’s great to write this after having a late (4.30) lunch with Jim yesterday. He was certainly having a traumatic day as he headed north to meet Peter. All these poems are right on the money and it must be a thankless task to choose one over the others.
    Congratulations Jim, you are a worthy winner.

    Reply

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