~ The Other Refugees ~

Soldier and Kitten by JustUs09 @ Photobucket.com

~ The Other Refugees ~

He huddled under the wreckage and rubble,

That used to be his home.

His people had fled.

Still others, were dead.

So he waited, shaking, alone.

*

She searched the dust-filled, ruined lots,

For food for her newborn young.

They needed to eat.

So she scoured every street.

But of sustenance, there was none.

*

Both were pitiful victims of war,

Forgotten, while the dropped bombs fell.

Their families were gone.

Yet, they still struggled on.

In the burning, abandoned hell.

*

It wasn’t their fault they had nowhere to go.

They’d been born with fur, not skin.

No more soft voices, or gentle pats,

Both wondered,

If they’d ever be happy again.

*

Then came the strangers with kind, loving care.

They brought food and they sheltered lost pets.

They didn’t have much,

But they shared what they had,

While the rest of society forgets…

*

There are more than people who suffer in war.

Animals can be refugees, too.

Let us stop and remember

Each four-legged family member.

There’s still plenty of helping to do.

~ C.L.R. ~ © 2014

Image borrowed from takepart.com
Image borrowed from takepart.com

I came across this article the other day, as I was trying to decide what my offering would be for The Bardo 100,000 Poets For Change topic “Peace and Justice”. It struck me that there are so many animals who get forgotten in the chaos of war, and I knew that I had found my subject.

Of course it’s the people who get the attention and aid when they escape war-zones, and it’s important that we continue to help those human victims who need it. But. But there is a large segment of the population of refugees who get forgotten in the shuffle. In our haste to help the humans, the poor animals who are hurt or left behind are often overlooked. It’s sad, as is most everything about war, but it is an unfortunate truth.

The good news is that there ARE organizations who focus on helping displaced and injured animals affected by the ravages of war. The selfless people who run many of these shelters risk their own lives to help the animals left behind. If you are so inclined, the next time that you think about donating time or money to the victims of war, please consider one of these efforts. The cause is noble and just as worthy, and you will be helping someone who needs you, maybe more than you can imagine.

Animals Without Limits

Harmony Fund

Animals Lebanon

Nowzad

SPCA International

 

 

– Corina Ravenscraft

This post is a part of our participation in 100,000 Poets – and Musicians, Artists and Activists –  for Change. Details HERE. Our theme is Peace and Justice.We invite you to participate in this global event by linking in your work with ours. We’ll be collecting all the links in a commemorative page shortly after we close this project on October 3. You may use Mister Linky below or include your link in the comments section. Thank you!

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fdragonkatet (Dragon’s Dreams) ~  Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

Earthlings, Making the Compassionate Connection

Horrific. Devastating. Unflinching.  Earthlings goes where our willful ignorance fears to tread. Using undercover cameras it takes us inside of farms, dairies, slaughterhouses, labs that do animal testing, fur ranches and circuses. It shows us the pain our younger brothers and sisters in the animal kingdom suffer for our sake.

This documentary also shows us just how far we humans can go to debase ourselves: at least that was my reaction to seeing people skinning animals alive and leaving them to die slowly, hanging live cattle by the leg and slitting their throats, tossing live male chicks into a grinder to make feed, getting a laugh out of swinging chickens on a hook or tossing a live dog into the back of a garbage truck, and digging hooks into elephants to train them …

It was painful to see calves that are separated from their mothers to prepare them to be veal and of dairy cows, pigs and chickens going insane packed into small indoor spaces and never walking the good earth or seeing the blue sky.

A key point this movie makes is about the link between our ability to be cruel dominators of our fellow creatures in the animal kingdom with our ability to be cruel to other human beings. It shows the damage done to the environment as we pursue dominance over nature and not stewardship of it. Both thumbs up on this one. It’s the movie to watch – however difficult – for the sake of our humanity. I watched it to strengthen my vegan resolve. 

Earthlings is an antidote to willful ignorance.

The video below is the trailer for the movie. You can view the entire movie for free HERE.

Narrated by Academy Award Nominee Joaquin Phoenix and featuring music by the critically acclaimed platinum artist Moby, EARTHLINGS is a documentary film about humankind’s complete economic dependence on animals raised for pets, food, clothing, entertainment and scientific research. Using hidden cameras and never-before-seen footage, EARTHLINGS chronicles the day-to-day practices of the largest industries in the world, all of which rely entirely on animals for profit.

© 2011, review, Jamie Dedes All rights reserved

Photo on 2014-03-31 at 17.16 #3unnamed-18JAMIE DEDES (The Poet by Day)~I am a medically retired (disabled) elder and the mother of married son who is very dear. I started blogging shortly after I retired as a way to maintain my sanity and to stay connected to the arts and the artful despite being mostly homebound. My Facebook pages are: Jamie Dedes (Arts and Humanities) and Simply Living, Living Simply.

With the help and support of talented bloggers and readers, I founded The Bardo Group because I feel that blogging offers a means to see one another in our simple humanity, as brothers and sisters and not as “other.” I am the poetry liaison and a member of the Core Team. Terri Stewart (Beguine Again) is in the lead position and the Beguine Again collaborative and The Bardo Group are coordinating a consolidation of the two groups.

“Good work, like good talk or any other form of worthwhile human relationship, depends upon being able to assume an extended shared world.” Stefan Collini (b. 1947), English Literary Critic and Professor of English Literature at Cambridge

Willful Ignorance and some Food For Thought…

Image borrowed from Zappa.com
Image borrowed from Zappa.com

“The more you can escape from how horrible things really are, the less it’s going to bother you…and then, the worse things get.”
Frank Zappa

Rational Wiki defines “Willful Ignorance” (bolding is mine) as: “…the state and practice of ignoring any sensory input that appears to contradict one’s inner model of reality. At heart, it is almost certainly driven by confirmation bias….Readers should be aware that willful ignorance is a mechanism that actually protects the brain from becoming unable to function in situations that it just can’t handle. An individual can never accept its whole own reality being meaningless or making no sense, as that would make it impossible to act towards any goal. Forcing an individual into such a state has psychologically been found to be comparable to the death of the higher developed parts of the brain from an outside perspective.”

Image borrowed from thedailysheeple.com
Image borrowed from thedailysheeple.com

I admit it. Life is a lot easier when I choose to ignore the things which make me unhappy or uncomfortable. I’m not particularly proud of it, but I admit that I do it. I think we all tend to do this to some extent. It’s a self defense mechanism which allows us to feel better about ourselves, our behavior, our actions (or in-actions). The problem is when we spend so much time in willful ignorance that others suffer, whether they’re other people, animals or plants.

Reality can be a cold bitch. Humans can be unimaginably cruel and so many times, we’re willing to look the other way. Why? Perhaps we feel helpless to do anything about the situation. Maybe we’re afraid of being ridiculed, ostracized for doing something differently. It takes tremendous courage to be the only one to stand up and say, “No. I will not do this because it is wrong.” It takes conviction and strength of heart. And sometimes, it takes a willingness to suffer, yourself, in order to make a point.

Image borrowed from quoteswave.com
Image borrowed from quoteswave.com

The compassionate soul cannot abide injustice and suffering in the world – it wants to help – in any way it can. As a compassionate soul, I have to consider certain things about my lifestyle and how it affects others. In recent years, my diet has come under my personal scrutiny because of revelations about where some of my food comes from; specifically, factory farming. It finally penetrated the veil of willful ignorance I had built so that I could continue to eat what I wanted when I wanted and not have to feel bad about it.

Am I a Vegan? No, but I’m trying to be a more compassionate consumer. I used to have bacon every week. Now it’s once a month or less. I used to eat eggs and chicken several times a week. Now I eat eggs maybe once a month and chicken once a week. I’ve almost completely stopped eating red meat. I’m also in the process of working on dairy. The thing is, you have to be able to live with your conscience and find what works for you. At the same time, I understand that not everyone shares my view. I’m not out to convert or guilt trip anyone. But I do wish that more people would take a long, hard look at how their actions possibly contribute to unnecessary suffering.

Image borrowed from Pinterest.com
Image borrowed from Pinterest.com

The video below IS safe for work. It doesn’t show the blood, or violence, in factory farming, but it does show us how we, as consumers, are manipulated into embracing willful ignorance. It’s a very thought-provoking 7 minutes. I hope you’ll watch it and let me know what you think. It’s okay to be upset or disturbed by what the presenter says. Believe me when I tell you that there are many, many other videos with far more upsetting and disturbing visuals/themes regarding factory farming. You can Google the phrase and see for yourself. Or not. Be warned: once you see it, you can’t “un-see” it. That’s how it works. It’s definitely “Food for thought”.

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fdragonkatet (Dragon’s Dreams) ~  Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

luminous – short prose

She sat there, with the precious stillness of a Tanagra, frozen beneath the cascade of magnolia petals – and all that sunrise was able to do was to jewel her aura with fiery reflexes, as if she was Amaterasu herself, borrowing for a while the limits of flesh with the sole purpose of proving the beauty of her infinity. I was unable to move, unable to make a sound, and for a moment I thought I would see her suddenly float and fly away, her body soaked with light and my eyes drained of all will to blink. Even her voice sounded as if woven from glints, when it stretched towards my senses like an invisible limb:

– The sun doesn’t always rise with the same brilliance. There are dawns when, for various reasons (all, or almost all of them of a scientific nature, of course) what you see growing above the line of the horizon is not that imposing disk of glowing majesty, but a shy red roundel, mat and exuding insecurity, as if it were born untimely from sky’s bleeding wombs. But if you stay there long enough and stare at it, you will witness the victory of plasma over atmosphere and soon the cells from your retina will be burned, as punishment for daring to assist at the visual metamorphosis of our closest star, as if your gaze would have somehow stained that moment of vulnerability…

She paused for a second – a long, ethereal, suspended on the tip of her gaze second – and then she continued:

Sparrow_on_snowy_branch– I’ve watched such sunrises more than just once from the window of my room. There were times when I saw the sky being flooded with raw sunlight and then suddenly a sparrow with eyes of onyx would come and sit on a branch of the elm tree growing right next to that window. It looked at me cautious, first with an eye, then with the other, and then it would suddenly release from that tiny throat a sample of happiness and freedom, as if to demonstrate me that joy can be found even in the simplest of things. It was that sparrow that taught me how to feel free, beyond the wheels of this chair, and not a sunrise goes by without me hoping you’d find your own sparrow, my son…

© 2013 Liliana Negoi

The photo attached was taken by Lewis Collard,

IMG_7667LILIANA NEGOI  (Endless Journey and in Romanian curcubee în alb şi negru) ~ is a member of our core team on Into the Bardo. She is the author of three published volumes of poetry in English, which is not her mother tongue but one that she came to love especially because of writing: Sands and Shadows, Footsteps on the San – tanka collection and The Hidden Well.  The last one can also be heard in audio version, read by the author herself on her SoundCloud site HERE.  Many of her creations, both poetry and prose, have been published in various literary magazines.

The Power of Collective Creativity

As creative individuals, it’s rewarding when we can use our skills to make something that “speaks” to others. Whether it’s the written word, the visual arts, music or performance arts, “The Arts” have always been a way to make powerful statements about politics, religion, war, the environment. It’s a way to make your own opinion known about these and other things that usually embody a very personal, individual set of beliefs or values. It has been said that any “successful” piece of art is one that evokes an emotional response (be it good or bad).

image borrowed from http://www.edutopia.org/arts-music-curriculum-child-development

image borrowed from http://www.edutopia.org/arts-music-curriculum-child-development

Throughout history, there are scads of examples of “The Arts” changing the world in some way. I’m not just talking about changing the “Art World”, though there are plenty of examples of that, too. But consider things like cave paintings. Once discovered, they completely changed the way that modern mankind viewed our cave-dwelling ancestors! Or how about Shakespeare and his influence of adding around 1700 words to the English language, or his play “Othello” which brought the idea of inter-racial love to the forefront of peoples’ minds?

image borrowed from http://www.durbeckarchive.com/plays.htm

image borrowed from http://www.durbeckarchive.com/plays.htm

The song “Imagine” by John Lennon became something of a “global” anthem for peace, because anyone, anywhere could relate to the desire of human beings for peace instead of war. The photograph of the young, naked Vietnamese girl running away from a napalm attack in the 1970′s shocked enough people to significantly swell the anti-Vietnam movement here in America.

image borrowed from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/vietnam/7735854/Vietnam-War-girl-in-the-picture-reunited-with-journalist-who-saved-her-life.html

image borrowed from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/vietnam/7735854/Vietnam-War-girl-in-the-picture-reunited-with-journalist-who-saved-her-life.html

I’m sure you can think of numerous examples, but the point is that Art has POWER.

Now take that creative energy and then multiply it, with many artists working for the same cause…and the possibilities are astounding! I’d like to share a video I recently watched from here regarding the POWER of a “Collective Creative Conscience”. It gave me hope and inspiration that we CAN (and DO) change the world in better ways than we ever thought possible! Enjoy! :)



Corina L. Ravenscraft

© 2013, essay and portrait (below), Corina Ravenscraft, All rights reserved

Corina-1CORINA L. RAVENSCRAFT (Dragon’s Dreams) ~ is an old friend of The Bardo Group and a new member of the Core Team. She is a poet and writer, artist and librarian who has been charming us through her blog since 2000, longer than any blogger in our little blogging community.  In the her engaging “about” on her blog HERE, Corina says, “I’m not a materialistic person, because I’ve learned that it’s not the “things” in life which really count, but the people you connect with, whose lives you touch or who touch yours. I don’t take anyone or anything for granted because I know from experience that it can all disappear in the blink of a cosmic eye.  People and animals are so much more important (and interesting!) to me than any kind of material possessions.”

On Christmas

Don’t let the title fool you . . .  because this post is prescheduled and because I will not write about Christmas in the traditional way, mainly because it isn’t today (as in “today, when I’m actually writing this text”) and also because everybody writes about Christmas these days, so I thought that a change would be good. Therefore I’ll write about the things that are going through my mind in this moment.

It’s rather early now, while I’m writing this, and the only company I have at this time is that of my dog, Bella, who constantly pushes me with her nose, in search for my hand. And while I caress her and look at her, I cannot help seeing the need for love in her eyes. She’s a member of our family for about ten years now (which is a lot of time for a dog) and everybody loves her. Some would say she’s been lucky. And the thought that pops in my mind now is “why do animals need to be lucky in order for people to love them”?

What did animals (in general) ever do wrong in order to deserve the harsh treatment given to them by certain representatives of the human species (otherwise nothing else than some supposedly evolved mammals)? Think about the stray dogs or cats, the experiments on mice and monkeys and other animals, the cruel hunting parties menacing with extinction certain species, and the list could go on.

I was asking myself at some point in time what is the purpose of flies – I honestly can’t stand them, and I’m sure that most of you can say the same – and a friend of mine told me that they simply are food for birds, and it’s good that they exist, because otherwise the birds would have to find food from other sources, and who knows what those would be?! His answer left me thinking. We already know that, should bees be extinct, everybody, but EVERYBODY on the face of the planet would have to suffer, that affected would be the ecosystem. The fact that we haven’t yet found out the hidden purpose of some animal, insect or plant doesn’t mean that it has none. It simply means that our understanding is still VERY limited. And that should make us cautious, careful, when interacting with all the life forms on our planet. And first of all with the planet itself – the biggest living organism with which we ever interacted directly.

I once bumped into a highly caustic text which stated that “should any animal species go extinct, so would the rest of life on earth, but should humankind go extinct, life on this planet would flourish.” Now, I like to think that we’re not THAT indispensable on this planet – such thought would be too painful. But what if we are? This acid poison of the “what if” should make us all stop for a second from what we’re doing and ponder. Maybe then we’d realize that it isn’t the dog that is lucky for having lived with us for ten years, but we are the lucky ones, having had for ten years such a loyal and loving friend. We are the lucky ones to have been born on a planet with so much potential, a place of such an indescribable beauty. We are the lucky ones to benefit from all the resources of this splendid parent we call Mother Earth. And we should all be thankful for that.

I think it’s not that bad, to see your luck in the eyes of a loving dog, on a Saturday morning :). Merry Christmas to all of you!

_DSC0787

© 2013 Liliana Negoi

____________________________________________________

The text is mine, the image (my dog, Bella) was taken some years ago by a very dear friend of mine, Mihai :).

IMG_7667LILIANA NEGOI  (Endless Journey and in Romanian curcubee în alb şi negru) ~ is a member of our core team on Into the Bardo. She is the author of three published volumes of poetry in English, which is not her mother tongue but one that she came to love especially because of writing: Sands and Shadows, Footsteps on the San – tanka collection and The Hidden Well.  The last one can also be heard in audio version, read by the author herself on her SoundCloud site HERE.  Many of her creations, both poetry and prose, have been published in various literary magazines.

The Thing About Love …

1235299_420196981434754_1007045779_n

We humans labor under the conceit that we are the only animals that grieve and have an impluse to be protective. Similar outcomes as those described above resulted from experiments performed on rats. See our feature The Rate Race by J.D. Galleger.

On the upside: Monkey Trek: A Rescue … Smile! 🙂 It’s about love …

– compiled by Jamie Dedes