For Falun Gong
Their plight is real, their cause is ours.
So far, alas, the “great and good”
Show no concern, although they should:
No virtue-signaling movie stars.
Although the world’s eyes look elsewhere,
The cause of Falun Gong is just.
In we, their friends, they have to trust:
For them, our friends, we have to care.
How long must they endure? How long?
The will for change is what we need,
Let’s play our part by word and deed
And help the folk of Falun Gong.
* * *
David Whippman is a British poet, now retired after a career in healthcare. Over the years he’s had quite a few poems, articles and short stories published in various magazines.
Judge’s comment: Mr. Whippman has won with a short twelve-line poem that does not even reach sonnet length (fourteen lines). His mastery is displayed in his command of pure, straightforward simplicity that, nonetheless, succinctly speaks volumes, which is one of the great powers of poetry at its best. His first line sets the powerful tone, “Their plight is real, their cause is ours,” for in these short eight words, he has undone the billions, maybe trillions, of dollars spent by the Communist Party of China on convincing their own freedom-deprived citizens and the rest of the world that the plight of peaceful Falun Gong practitioners facing persecution in China is made up by the practitioners themselves. Mr. Whippman, not a practitioner himself, but seeing through this communist fog, identifies the good guys and bad guys. In the lines that immediately follow, he also casts this same morally powerful poetic gaze back at the West and wonders how the powers that be, who claim to love freedom and human rights, could have let such atrocities have happened in the globalized world we have today. Thus, the light of truth shines exceptionally brightly through the words of Mr. Whippman, allowing him to achieve First Place.