Jonathan Weinberg, “Practitioner” – Honorable Mention, Adult
Poet’s Note: This poem based on an event that took place in 2002. I was working for a human rights organization, and my work seemed to intersect with Falun Gong at almost every turn. That winter, at a rally in front of the State Department, I had to make a statement about human rights abuses in China. I had just met a young woman whose fiancé was detained in China for re-educational purposes. I had a chance to talk to her briefly, before I made my way to the podium. We would utilize every means at our disposal (our friends in Congress and the State Department) to liberate her fiancé. But things did not look good.
I met her on the State Department steps,
Her ivory face enshrined her trembling lips;
She bore her courage through the bitter spell,
And told a tale too sorrowful to tell.
As we petitioned all the heads of state,
To free her lover from the tides of fate,
For practicing the art of Falun Gong,
A poet filled the marketplace with song.
A ship will sail across the emerald sea,
A midnight thief to set the captives free…
And then the moon leaned down, her long arms bent,
And spared her soul from trauma’s instrument.
But now the blossoms on his grave are cast,
And love has vanished from this world, at last,
But freedom burns more brightly than before,
A lantern on its way to heaven’s shore
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Jonathan Weinberg works for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.