Randal A. Burd, “Indoctrinating Evil” – 2nd Place Adult Award
A student sits and stares at an exam,
Expected there to demonstrate their hate.
But, something in their heart does not relate—
A pause before the slaughter of the lamb.
Could such a spark of conscience buried deep
Take root and cease the cycle of despair?
Can persecution—prevalence of terror—
Be stopped while making wolves out of the sheep?
The children taught to hate the Falun Gong
Continue dark and twisted legacies,
Creating needless animosities,
Divorced from rhyme and reason, right and wrong.
Indoctrinating children is the crime
Perpetuating evil over time.
* * *
Randal A. Burd, Jr. is an educator, freelance editor, writer, and poet. His freelance writing includes assignments on the paid writing team for Ancestry.com and multiple online blogs, newsletters, and publications. Randal received his Master’s Degree in English Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Missouri. He currently works on the site of a residential treatment facility for juveniles in rural Missouri. He lives in southeast Missouri with his wife and two children.
Judge’s comment: Mr. Burd’s sonnet reads like a mystery novel and even contains the slightly enigmatic sounding Petrarchan rhyme scheme (ABBA) rather than the sweeter sounding Shakespearean scheme (ABAB). This mysterious approach works perfectly with the devious subject: the placing of anti-Falun Gong propaganda on state examinations in China. How horrifying for a student to find out that, after having invested countless hours of study into being a “good” student, his chances of rising on the ladder of Chinese society will be crushed if he doesn’t cooperate with the evil ideology that persecutes Falun Gong.