Jeff Kemper, ‘The Odyssey of Sunny Guo’ – 2nd Place Adult Award

The Odyssey of Sunny Guo

(a Falun Gong devotee persecuted by the CCP)

by Jeff Kemper

I foundered ere I found my freedom’s wings
And soared from confines of a Broad Expanse
To depths unknown within the heart of things
Where truth abides with love, and patience rings
The bell of freedom, while patrols advance.

Constabularies clipped the feathers clean
In midflight. And I fell to their assault,
Where sentinels and misanthropes convene,
And made my bed in confines dim and lean.
And then commenced a tortuous tumult:

Each eighteen seconds seemed like eighteen years
Of injury and pain inflicted by
The royal squad to agitate my fears;
Expatriate my faith, dispatched in tears;
And make me an obsequious ally.

For eighteen hours I sat in silence, still,
With hands on thighs and open eyes, sustained
A random pose for my aggressors’ thrill
As they resolved my spirit they should kill.
I know not how my sanity maintained.

For eighteen months I dined in deepest Hell
At the good pleasure of an unseen king.
The hellfire burning hot within my cell
Was tariff levied by the state-cartel
In the reformatories of Beijing.

For eighteen years within the Broad Expanse
The Serpent’s victims on the altar crawl
To be apportioned for the market dance—
A harvest crop for medical advance.
I barely dodged this lethal protocol!

In my own home militias marshaled harm,
Attacked, and brutalized my pious peers
Whose Sino-Serpent they refused to charm.
I’ll bang the gong and bellow the alarm
Until that Snake forever disappears.

For now I fly with newly feathered wings
And soar in confines of a Distant Land
Wherein all residents can reign as kings
Without a snake that strangles, strikes, and stings;
Where patience, truth, and love are never banned.

* * *


Winner of the 2nd Place Adult Award in FoFG’s 2020 Poetry Contest