(Pu’er, Yunnan—Nov. 11, 2019) The following poem was written by John Cao, a pastor currently serving seven years in prison in China.
Cao was charged with “organizing illegal border crossings” when he and several others crossed the border between Myanmar and China. However, of the group, only Cao and another Christian, Jing Ruxia, were arrested.
This caused the United Nation’s Working Group for Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) to believe that they were targeted for their faith instead of for a crime.
Cao received a seven-year jail term. Jing was also sentenced but has since been released.
Cao wrote the poem, available below, from prison.
Pastor Cao’s Prison Poetry: You And Me (2)
From Over the mighty waters
Oct. 30, 2019
My prayers have wings and leap over the iron mesh high wall.
Many brothers and sisters have heard them.
And they fly freely every day and reach heaven on the blue sky.
You can impose heavy punishments on me, but you can’t hold my soul and spirit.
They are like cheerful yellowbirds, raising gentle praises toward the iron gate.
My Savior must have heard my voice.
You can deprive me of the sun. I eat leftovers with coldness every day,
But you can’t extinguish the brightness that the Lord has placed in my heart.
Greetings from all over the world make me warm, passion fluttering.
Do you think that I am lonely? Have you seen any Christian walking alone in your 70 years of persecution?
You think that persecution can stop the church. How really ignorant you are!
Turning onto the history of the millennium, which page is not suffering with joy for Christians? Which page is not sprinkled with blood on the narrow path of the thorns?
You think that the walls around me are blocking my vision and make me uncertain of the direction.
I never look around the environment, but just look up at the heavens with my eyes.
You are the blind riding on the horse, so you think that everyone crosses the river by feeling the stones,
I have the rod of my Shepherd in my heart, and my Lord certainly helps me to move forward.
You see me as an enemy who is absolutely irreconcilable and put me into the meat grinder. But I regard you as my blood brother. This is not because I am afraid of you, but because Jesus loves you and so I love you.
Your ancestors have been jailed by the National Party. How can I not endure your hard labor?
I really love you, as long as you can repent. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race.
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