Environment is a tremendous thing that shapes life regardless
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.
One thought on “Let Freedom Ring, An Anti-Deterministic Poem”
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. 🙂