Brian Yapko, ‘Amends to the Innocent’ – 1st Place Award

Amends to the Innocent

by Brian Yapko

Dear Falun Gong, I owe you my amends.
I heard but would not listen to the sighs
Of battered souls I should have known as friends.
An Evil which I failed to recognize
I fed with foolishness. My spirit bends
To you, to never more ignore your cries.

I squandered gold. My clothes, my lamps, each tool,
And picture frame and every useful thing
I bought from tyrants. Stingy like a fool
I only thought of dollars. Everything
I purchased gave them leave to be more cruel;
For “Made in China” hides a vicious sting.

I warped my conscience. I did not pay heed
Or try to help although I heard you moan
In grief and anguish from each wretched deed
Of torture by cruel sadists. Vein and bone
Were bled and broken, genocide decreed
By soulless, faithless thugs with hearts of stone.

I traveled to the Middle Kingdom twice
For entertainment, not for education.
I sipped their tea. I ate their duck and rice
And all the while ignored their desecration
Of human souls. I paid a Judas price
And helped support a persecuting nation.

I closed my heart to you. I gave no care
For Falun Gong across a distant ocean
Defaced, defamed within a dragon’s lair.
Of persecuted souls I had no notion.
My callow selfishness is now laid bare
As I bear witness to your brave devotion.

The future summons me. I failed before
To stand for right, a spoiled moral sieve.
But there are many battles yet in store
And many friends who yet may get to live.
My pen and heart are primed to fight this war.
They’re yours if you’ll accept them. And forgive.

* * *


Winner of the 1st Place Award in FoFG’s 2022 Poetry Contest

Brian Yapko is a lawyer who also writes poetry. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.