Seven Years

by Richard Hartwell

Seven years! Seven years for slinging arrows,
not barbed arrows, but straight-shaft, merely to
catch the thought of a people’s freedom, then
release the idea into air fragrant with possibility.

Seven years! Seven years to be re-educated,
to re-consider intransigence and intent, and to
re-invent nationalism rather than allegiance to
those indelible rights written large on the wind.

Seven years! Seven years to memorize and to
internalize the poems that Zhu Yufu will craft
in prison as he labors hard for the state, for the
state of all mankind seeking individual redress.

Seven years! Seven years, leaders of China, to
consider what has been done to excite, worldwide,
an article of conviction that what one man can
start with words, others will finish by judgment.

Seven years! Seven years: to entrap and silence a
man, What a Man; to incarcerate a truth, The Truth;
to attempt to quell the deep rumble of unquenchable
thirst to be free, with an Elixir of Personal Autonomy.

Seven years! Seven years is far too long to wait –
seven months, or days, of even hours, is by far an
excess of time to stay the release of Zhu Yufu, his
truth, and the future of an expectant Chinese people.

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