There are people for whom poetry exists almost exclusively as an aid to social change – not as some sort of didacticism – but as a discussion, a wake up call, a way of approaching some truth, finding some meaning, encouraging resolution. Most of the folks who participated in this Bardo community event aren’t among them. They are as likely to write about the beautiful flowers that have just popped on their orchid as they are to write a poem calling for change, peace and justice. But it does happen and quite often: a horrific war photo, a news report of an injustice, a homeless person outside the grocery, a friend in pain that can be traced to some social issues, and the words start to flow. There’s the urge to respond, to do something . . .
As we make our way around the blogosphere, we are touched to see how many people blog for causes – “worthy” causes – and we know that “worthy” is in the eye of the reader. War is big. For those bloggers who are pacifists, this medium offers one means of passive resistance. Perhaps passivism is the strongest form of resistance and poetry the conscience of the collective soul.
We can’t help but think that the peace and justice so many of us seek is rooted in transforming values. Hence, it is more evolutionary than revolutionary. It is perhaps so gradual but pervasive that it is more evident in our blogosphere than it is in the sensationalism of mainstream media. Perhaps it is more evident in the heart-born prose and poems of simple folk like you and me with nary a pundit or politician among us. Maybe it’s a bottom-up thing, more likely to be blogged than broadcast, rising from homespun poetry, sometimes rudimentary and awkward, but always quiet and true and slow like a secret whispered from one person to the next. Maybe it is something stewing even as we write, read, and encourage one another. It could be there is some bone and muscle in what we do. Individually we have miniscule “audiences.” Collectively we speak to enormous and geographically diverse populations. Or perhaps it just that poetic fancy has caught our spirit tonight and all is dream …We hope not. Poem on … And thank you for your participation.
So let some impact from my words echo resonance and
lend impulse to the bright looming dawn
Dennis Brutus (1924 – 2009), South African Poet/Activist
– The Bardo Group
Featured Poem #1:
No mother’s arms shall cradle you
Nor gentle voice shall ease your heart
Nor call to you, through smoke and gun
Though you are lost, war-torn apart
Your mother’s eyes are filled with fear
They shall not weep, not shed a tear
For you, might one day come to gloat
And slice your blade across her throat
You devilled child of generation
Lost, forgotten by a nation.
Eyes of stone that cannot feel
Go crazed beneath a general’s heel
You play with guns, the Russian grades
In school of steel and AKA’s
And fall where shot, unfriended lie
On burning ground, but none shall cry
To moisten fire of barren earth
Or plant a stick to mark your birth
When tiny body finds its grave
Bones are bleached and none can save
Your soul, that cries to scorching sky ~
Where is my home, why did I die?
– © 2013 Niamh Clune (On the Plum Tree)
Featured Poem #2
|Each one came, soldier, marine, airman, frogwalking quietly as if wrapped from within
the cocoon of his own world.War’s sad energy like a gray
heavy mist lay upon the shoulders of each,
reality spiking their dull black piercing shadows.Each man sat at the table abandoned.
“Just a word”?
“Coffee please”.“May we write yet?”
And then he stood.
A large and heavy presence, poorly balanced.He shouted …
“Don’t you see them?
There, in the corners … one in each corner.”“How dare they come here?
I ought-a know,
I was with the CIA.”Then he sat down defeated again.
He seemed to relax until another
Stream of madness crept out of his throat.“I will NOT be giving you a sample today!
There will be no writing samples.
THEY … are here for that reason you know, to collect them.”And I thought to myself,
Does the madness hide the pain?
Or perhaps this pain drives one mad.2008 © Liz Rice-Sosne (noh where)
Poets Against War Poetry Collection
These are listed in the order that I received them. Please visit one another: read, comment, encourage. I think I’ve captured all the links, but if I missed someone, I’m sorry. Please just put the link in again in the comments below and I will add it here. Thank you! J.D.
I Consider Myself by Renee Espriu, Turtle Flight, My Muse & Angels
Peace, always by Blaga Todorova, Between the Shadows and the Soul
the magic wand by Sharmishtha Basu, Sharmishtha Basu’s poetries
War by Reena Presad, Butterflies of Time
Wake up by Reena Presad, Butteflies of Time
Peace Embrace by Rev. Terri Stewar, CloakedMonk
The Irony of War by Victoria C. Slotto, Victoria C. Slotto, Author: Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts
Peace and War and Pieces of Human Beings on the Ground, Amy Barlow Liberato, Sharp Little Pencil
peace would be radical by Jamie Dedes, The Poet by Day, the journey in poem
Let’s merge our voices by Nadira Fromkannur, Dreaming Through the Night
Poems for Peace by Liz Rice-Stone, noh where
Think by John Anstie, My Poetry Library
In the Name of Love, A Poem to All World Leaders by T. J. Therien, Liars, Hypocrites & The Development of Human Emotions
Unite for Peace by Sue Dreamwalker, Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary
The Last Horseman Is the One Who Counts by Corina L. Ravenscraft, Dragon’s Dreams
Price Check by Corina L. Ravenscraft, Dragon’s Dreams
again by Charles W. Martin, Reading Between the Minds
Twenty Nine by John Anstie, My Poetry Library
conjugating wars by Liliana Negoi, Endless Journey and in Romanian curcubee în alb şi negru
For the kindness of reblogging the original announcement of this event, thanks to Reena Prasad, Renee Espiritu, Terri Stewart, George-b, Paula Kuitenbrouwer, Nadira Fromkannur, and John Anstie. (Please let us know if we left you out. Leave a message in the comments section and someone will get back to you.)
And in closing, here is John Anstie’s re-articulation of our mission:
“. . . at its core is a spiritual aspiration for the moral (and perhaps literary) high ground – and that is not, in any shape or form, intended to be an arrogant position – it is, above all, the fact that it is the mission of ‘Into The Bardo’ to present a pan-religious, non-partisan, de-polarised, maybe even universal picture of humanity and the challenges we face . . .” John Anstie (My Poetry Library and 42)
– The Bardo Group