Let Freedom Ring, An Anti-Deterministic Poem

Environment is a tremendous thing that shapes life regardless

Stephen Crane


Let Freedom Ring

An Anti-Deterministic Poem


Environment is a petri dish

of caste and killing, beauty and beasts.

Stephen Crane called it a ‘tremendous thing

That shapes life regardless,’ Crane’s deterministic take

On what we’re trapped for life in.


Once, as a wee RH preemie, I was predetermined

to be transfused, born blue all over,

baby teeth erupting this pale green

Oh, those beautiful poppies outside

and that fog, a fog creamy white

as the flitting sanctity of dreams’ sleep.


Life as this hard swerve between

clean and mean, Cain’s pain and Abel’s over, these love splits,

And all we need is love, but we be bombed with the environment of death,

impending and unrelenting. Radioactive mushroom skies once

crisscrossed gorgeous blooming fields of California ranunculus,

clean there as any ruby glistening,

and now we’re in a poison spin,

retching in a tremendous lock-down. Alone as winter birds

and, below, ants impudently copulate by the sink.

We surrounded by empty enemy talk. It could all be ending so.


But something in my preemie eyes wants us to draw together,

our hearts saying love sweet love. George Harrison’s balmy eyes.

Just be kind and hold out, hold out your soft hand.

If we can stay sweet eyed, we’ll keep

Death and blight at bay to sustain what matters:

The freedom of our name, nature and nation

In the harmony we make, we’ll sustain us on our own


Oh Susannah had that buckwheat cake in her mouth.

He sang, ‘Oh, Susannah Now, don’t you cry for me

‘Cause I come from Alabama

With my banjo on my knee.’


In that coming over and over and over

We can join together for the biggest little things.

For forever, a long bit of together

And let our love sing louder than that tremendous environment


© 2020, Linda Chown

LINDA E. CHOWN grew up in Berkeley, Ca. in the days of action. Civil Rights arrests at Sheraton Palace and Auto Row.  BA UC Berkeley Intellectual History; MA Creative Writing SFSU; PHd Comparative Literature University of Washington. Four books of poetry. Many poems published on line at Numero Cinq, Empty Mirror, The Bezine, Dura, Poet Head and others. Many articles on Oliver Sachs, Doris Lessing, Virginia Woolf, and many others. Twenty years in Spain with friends who lived through the worst of Franco. I was in Spain (Granada, Conil and Cádiz) during Franco’s rule, there the day of his death when people took to the streets in celebration. Interviewed nine major Spanish Women Novelists, including Ana María Matute and Carmen Laforet and Carmen Martín Gaite. Linda’s Amazon Page is HERE.


The focus of "The BeZine," a publication of The Bardo Group Beguines, is on sacred space (common ground) as it is expressed through the arts. Our work covers a range of topics: spirituality, life, death, personal experience, culture, current events, history, art, and photography and film. We share work here that is representative of universal human values however differently they might be expressed in our varied religions and cultures. We feel that our art and our Internet-facilitated social connection offer a means to see one another in our simple humanity, as brothers and sisters, and not as “other.” This is a space where we hope you’ll delight in learning how much you have in common with “other” peoples. We hope that your visits here will help you to love (respect) not fear. For more see our Info/Mission Statement Page.

One thought on “Let Freedom Ring, An Anti-Deterministic Poem

  1. I appreciate the undercurrent of hope in this piece. Rejecting determinism feels more important than ever right now, considering the circumstances. We CAN find our way back to the love that is still there in this country. Thank you for sharing this with us. 🙂


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