Talbot Hook, ‘Asking Price’ and ‘What All Tyrants Know’ – Honorable Mention, Adult

Asking Price

by Talbot Hook

The whole world looks the other way,
Or else they might refuse to pay.
“After all,” they moralize,
“Who are you to criticize?”

To rule through fear needs sacrifice—
Some human lives the asking price.
So now new prey has come along:
The wellness movement, Falun Gong.

The Party droned its drab clichés,
Betrayed their kin for power plays;
A few have fled their Motherland,
To plead their case and make their stand.

But we still look the other way,
For fear they might refuse to pay.
And now it’s we who moralize:
“Just who are we to criticize?”

And next time that a deal arrives?
It’s money or it’s human lives.

* * *


What All Tyrants Know

by Talbot Hook

From Xinjiang’s Uyghurs west and north,
To hopeful students shot June Fourth,
A warning echoes loud and clear:
Dissenting is to disappear.

Tibet is smothered by the Han—
The culture there will soon be gone.
And from the ashes Beijing’s cheer:
Dissent and you will disappear.

Hong Kong is quickly losing ground,
In lies and tear gas cruelly drowned.
Its students clash with riot-gear:
Fall in line, or disappear.

Falun Gong in darkened cells,
Boots to throats and muffled yells.
The last thing that they’ll ever hear?
Now it’s time you disappear.

But as resistance movements grow,
They highlight what all tyrants know:
If they should lose their grip on fear—
Then, in the end, they’ll disappear.

* * *


Recognized as Honorable Mentions in the adult category of FoFG’s 2020 Poetry Contest