The Value of Life

Word art image by John Anstie via 'Cloudart'
Word art image by John Anstie via ‘Cloudart’

This year marks the centenary of the beginning of a war that should have ended all wars. My thoughts for this piece were inspired, nay possibly provoked, by commentary from two recent sources.

The first was an item on the BBC’s Newsnight. This was a contention by some commentator that the perspective of the horrors of the Great War had swung “too far to the left”!

The second came from somewhere inside those compartments of my brain that store data from my professional life in commerce and trade. It relates to how successful companies aim to keep the balance sheet healthy (and the shareholders or directors happy).

It doesn’t matter which political regime is in government – left, centre or right – we keep going to war, somewhere in the world, for some reason, the truth of which is often illusory. So, whichever social, political or historic perspective we decide to adopt to absolve ourselves of the guilt, brought on by the inhuman horror of war, it alters neither the fatal results on the lives of so many, nor its lasting and damaging effects on the survivors and future generations.

Any company, developing a new product for market, will want it to succeed in the market. If the product fails to sell in sufficient quantities or survive against the competition, then would they carry on producing it and pushing it into the market, expending their valuable resources on a failing campaign? The answer is a resounding NO! They would either review and redevelop the product, remodel its placement in the market or withdraw it altogether!

An army, like a commercial company, has as its main resource what any organisation should value most, it’s people. Their operations in the field have to be managed in a way that ensures the highest probable success at the lowest possible cost. So the generals (and their political masters), who presided over operations at the front in the First World War, failed! It still hurts now, even after nearly one hundred years, that, by any measure, the obscene loss of young lives in that war was a failure on a catastrophic scale. However great was the threat that existed from Central Europe’s ‘Triple Alliance’ (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy), they could have managed that threat with far better strategy, better tactics.

Surely few could have foreseen the horrors that would follow but, years later, with countless tomes of historical reportage, documentary … and some of the most poignant poetry ever written … there comes a time for reconciliation; a time for present leaderships to face the truth, admit their predecessors were wrong and apologise to the descendants of all those lost and hurt by such bad management. I think it is important for any civilisation, if it is not to descend into a dark Orwellian future, if it’s peoples are not to be subjugated by fear of war, foreign invasion and death, that its leadership, regardless of political colour, must be able to stand up and face the truth, admit their failures and apologise for taking us to war, any war! We all need to seek truth and reconciliation.

It has been said that we should not ‘celebrate’ but rather ‘commemorate’ the First World War at its anniversary. I disagree. I believe we should celebrate it, which means that, once we acknowledge it was a complete failure because of its decimation of life, it should serve as an unforgettable beacon that we will always celebrate for reminding us of the value of life.

© 2014, John Anstie, All rights reserved

John_in_Pose_Half_Face3JOHN ANSTIE (My Poetry Library and 42) ~ is a British poet and writer, a contributing editor here at Bardo, and multi-talented gentleman self-described as a “Family man, Grandfather, Occasional Musician, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, Apple-MAC user, Implementation Manager, and Engineer. John participates in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and is a player in New World Creative Union. He’s been blogging since the beginning of 2011. John is also an active member of The Poetry Society (UK).

* * * * *

product_thumbnail-3.php51w-rH34dTL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_John has been involved in the recent publication of two anthologies that are the result of online collaborations among two international groups of amateur and professional poets. One of these is The Grass Roots Poetry Group, for which he produced and edited their anthology, “Petrichor* Rising. The other group is d’Verse Poet Pub, in which John’s poetry also appears The d’Verse Anthology: Voices of Contemporary World Poetry, produced and edited by Frank Watson.

Petrichor – from the Greek pɛtrɨkər, the scent of rain on the dry earth.

BARDO NEWS: What Leibniz Never Learned; Paula’s “three minutes” of fame; Niamh’s new FB page; an opportunity for women poets … and more

sllwomanreverseVia contributing poet and good friend to Bardo, Myra Schneider for Second Light Network of Women Poets: AN INVITATION TO WOMEN POETS TO SUBMIT TO A MAJOR NEW ANTHOLOGY FUNDED BY THE ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND and open to contributions from any women anywhere in the world …

The Second Light Network of Women Poets have recently received Arts Council funding to bring out an anthology of poetry by women poets. It will be called Wings of Glass. The book will focus on ambitious writing and be published next autumn 2014 and launched at the Second Light Festival in central London in late November. The editors are Penelope ShuttleMyra Schneider and Dilys Wood. Submissions will be accepted between 15th November and 15th January. Please see full details for submitting : www.secondlightlive.co.uk

51rk8frRwfL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Her Wings of Glass (the title a quotation from Sylvia Plath) is to be a 200 page anthology that will complement but not repeat Second Light’s previous anthology (with Arrowhead Books), Images of Women. The focus of this anthology is ‘big issues’, for example the future of the planet, good and evil aspects of our relationship with the natural world and with each other, different aspects of our imaginative understanding of ‘who we are’.

The invitation is for up to six poems per submission, not more than 200 lines in total, with three copies of each poem to Dilys Wood at 3, Springfield Close, East Preston, West Sussex, BN16 2SZ, by January 15th 2014 together with the administrative fee of £5 (Second Light members) or £8 (non-members). Cheques payable to ‘Second Light’ or pay online at the poetry p f (online shop (filter to ‘Wings’). Non-UK submissions may be sent by e-mail as .doc or .pdf attachments, only to Second Light Administrator (poet Anne Stewart. ) Anne Stewart is a fabulous help with your technical questions. [Check out Anne’s poems HERE.]

The adjudicators will advise those selected by 30th June 2014 and those poets whose work is selected will receive a copy of the anthology when published. Submitted poems may be published (details on poem please) or unpublished or otherwise out in submission. Second Light may also publish a short spin-off anthology if funds allow.

FULL SUBMISSIONS GUIDELINES HERE

artemisEditor’s note: Poets of the distaff side, don’t forget Second Light Network of Women Poets as a primary professional association with an excellent bi-annual journal ARTEMISpoetry, which is published in November and in May. Membership in Second Light network is not restricted to residents of England.

terriREV. TERRI STEWART (Cloaked Monk) is the founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition in Seattle, Washington. Don’t miss tomorrow’s post for details. You will find Terri’s philosophy of Extreme Accompaniment of interest and applicable to the many situations we encounter and have the impulse to heal.

PAULA KUITENBROUWER (Mindful Drawing) was honored by Boeddhistisch Dagblad, the premier Buddhist magazine of the Netherlands, with an interview and photographs … in Paula’s words her “three minutes of fame.” The feature is HERE in Dutch.

bd

1012862_450201838416190_1876830770_nNIAMH CLUNE (On the Plum Tree)  has set-off a virtual explosion of activity and inspiration on her Plum Tree Books Facebook Page.  She is hosting posts by a bevy artists and writers including Shawn MacKenzie (Dragonsnest) with Editor’s Corner and Jamie Dedes (The Poet by Day , the journey in poem).  Jamie’s Corner, Soul Speak with Jamie Dedes, is about matters concerned with the inner life.

Niamh’s Plum Tree Books (PTB) is a small book publishing company and will publish material on FB based on the creative collaborations of team members. PTB encourages participation and comment on many subjects from technical advice on how to make a recording, to poetry, social comment, inspirational quotes to inspire your poetry, and how to illustrate children’s books. PTB is always looking for new talent to showcase.

twavatarKAREN FAYETH‘s (Oh Fair New Mexico) latest short story What Leibniz Never Learned was published by The Storyteller, a literary magazine of the print variety. Here’s a snippet with a link to the complete story:

“Anton dropped his head into his hands and, with a deep sigh, allowed frustration to wash over him. He had so many things to say, deep, powerful, urgent emotions, and all he could squeeze out on the pages of his quadrille lined laboratory notebook were gibberish lines and jumbled words.

If only expressing words of love was as simple as the calculus that flowed so easily for him. Figuring derivatives of complex equations happened with ease and grace. Math made sense. Feelings did not.

He turned to a clean page and wrote down a problem. He crafted the most difficult math he could think of and then solved the equation without breaking a mental sweat. Math – in particular, calculus – made him feel better.

That’s because: Math = Easy2 + Clean + Pure

Words sucked. They could be misinterpreted and get all jumbled up and used against a guy. Especially with girls.” MORE.

REENA PRASAD (Butterflies of Time, a convas of poety) ~ is an Indian poet, blogger, and blogging-community friend based in Sharjah. She works tirelessly on her poetry and on getting her work published. Congratulations to her on her most recent success, the publication of Seasons on Thanal Online.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: We are delighted to be introducing some new talent into the mix over the next few weeks and we continue to work on the submissions received from the Call for Submissions, which is now closed. If you have not heard from us yet, do not despair. The project is simply taking more time than anticipated.

POETS AGAINST WAR was certainly a successful effort and we continue to receive submissions, which will be posted and then also added to the collection Poets Against War, 2013 collection.

POETS AGAINST WAR, the book: Several among the Core Team members, contributors, readers and friends have indicated an interest in publishing the poems in anthology with the proceeds from sales going to an international charity to be named. We are researching the details on this and will share information and plans as they become clarified. The short-term plan is to host another peace event in September 2014 to include artists, photographers, story-tellers and essayists. It will be implemented in concert with the 2014 global 100,000 Poets for Change. If all works out, we’ll electronically publish the combined collection (2013, 2014) during the first quarter of 2015. If you have suggestions or technical skills to share, please let us know and they will be factored into our considerations and/or into the planning process. Just leave a note in the comments. Thank you!

BLOGGERS IN PLANET LOVE: This is a heads-up on an event in the planning for Valentine’s Day 2014. Details to be determined and announced. Look for more news about this collaborative effort addressing climate and environmental concerns and the meaning of nature in our lives.

NEWS TO SHARE?:  Please feel free to do so in the comment section.

– The Bardo Group

The Evolution Shall Be Blogged: Our “Poets Against War” Wrap-up and Collection

White Doves at Blue Mosque
White Doves at Blue Mosque

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 I make my way around the blogosphere, I am touched to see how many people blog for causes – “worthy” causes as my mom would say – and I 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.

I 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 – outsider literary art – 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 my spirit tonight and all is dream …I 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

– © 2013 Jamie Dedes (The Poet by Day)

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 EspirituTerri Stewart, George-b, Paula Kuitenbrouwer, Nadira Fromkannur, and John Anstie. (Please let me know if I left you out. J.D.)

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)

POETS AGAINST WAR, #6: conjugating wars by Liliana Negoi

product_thumbnail-1.phpchippy charmed blade in Moira’s hand
cries for blood,
begs for blood,
slashing carmine canopies
for the sake of the flow,
grinning its ivory fang
at the lavish crimson gush
drenching sands and drowning wills.
on the red river
crucified Jesus floats,
watching clouds on skies in flames
twinning the boulders of coagulated sins
crawling along the muddy shores,
wondering  if those were the sins
for which he drank the cup.
in the meantime carnivorous swords
keep fueling the flood,
making sure that the river’s level stays always high enough,
as if that would get the floating cross closer to the skies.
not that it mattered anyway –
after all, there’s plenty of that bloody slime
smelling like putrid faith
to fuel a thousand more crusades

– Liliana Negoi

© 2012, poem, book-cover art, and portrait, Liliana Negoi, All rights reserved

– conjugating wars is one of the poems included in Liliana Negoi’s poetry volume The Hidden Well, and can be heard in the author’s own reading on SoundCloud at the following link:   conjugating wars

Invitation: We’d like you to join us – not only as readers – but as writers by putting links to your own anti-war or pro-peace poems in the comment sections. Next week we’ll gather the links together in one post and put them up as a single page headed “Poets  Against War.”  Thank you!

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.

POETS AGAINST THE WAR, #4: The Last Horseman Is the One Who Counts by Corina L. Ravenscraft

gas-mask-dollar
There is no profit in peace, you know.
White Horse or Red, the blood must flow.
Human constructs, like Conquest or War,
Benefit the rich and bury the poor.
I think the Draft should be reinstated;
So that ALL might witness the horror created.

Send the war-mongers’ sons first,
To hold the Front Line’s Hell.
Watch them die, or even worse,
Return home, as a shell.
If politician’s kids are killed or maimed,
Will war then taste as good as they claimed?

Tell me:

What’s the magic, almighty dollar amount?
To make endless war worth the body count?
If Corporations are people, now, too,
Let’s send them to war, and see if it’s true.
Will those corporations scream in pain as they bleed?
Will they writhe in agony for a rich man’s greed?
Will they lose their limbs, and maybe their minds?
Does the Machine care about the bones, the bodies it grinds?

In the end:

There is no prophet of peace, you know.
The love of money is Greed: War’s C.E.O.
The wars will continue, the innocents will still fall.
And the Pale Horse’s rider will someday claim all.

– Corina L. Ravenscraft

ch6-4horsemen

Invitation: We’d like you to join us – not only as readers – but as writers by putting links to your own anti-war or pro-peace poems in the comment sections. Next week we’ll gather the links together in one post and put them up as a single page headed “Poets  Against War.”  Thank you!

© 2013, poem and portrait (below), Corina L. Ravenscraft, All rights reserved
Photo credits ~ dollar bill with gas mask via edgecast on Tumbler, second illustration is of a painting by Vallejo

Corina-1992414_511233302297487_1031742058_nCORINA L. RAVENSCRAFT (Dragon’s Dreams) ~ is a guest writer on Into the Bardo. 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. She tends to keep herself in the background, but in a 2011 Jingle Poetry interview with Blaga Todorova (Between the Shadows and the Soul) she revealed, “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 1372843_511233305630820_2079635591_nthings 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 the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.”  The samples of Cornina’s art work, her popular Infinity-Möbius dragon, is copyright”Möbius Ouroboros.” If you click on them, you can view enlarged versions.

 

 

POETS AGAINST WAR, #1: The Irony of War by Victoria C. Slotto

smiley

Smile, Jesus Loves You

He wore no smile. Square jaw, set firm,
taut muscles. Skin like latte, stubble-covered,
(more like fuzz.)
Skin too soft for who he was,
who he pretended to be.
Salvadoran sun backlit the scene
set on the borders of insanity.

elsalvador

Not a game he played that day,
a game his peers in other lands
and other times still play.
This was a game of war.

He stared at us, each one, with eyes
too full of sadness for an almost-child.
Compared our passport photos with reality.

And there, upon the submachine gun’s butt—
a smiley face, a message, too.

I wonder–can he smile today,
and can he still believe?

Earthquake--El Salvador1986
Earthquake–El Salvador
1986

At the height of the civil war in El Salvador, the country suffered a massive earthquake that resulted in much loss of life and many injuries. I spent close to a month there, helping to nurse the wounded not requiring hospitalization. We flew into Guatemala and drove to San Salvador, the capital. On the way, we had to pass through numerous military checkpoints. At one of these stops I observed a young soldier. I’d guess he wasn’t much older than 15 or 16, perhaps younger. There on the butt of his huge machine gun was a smiley face sticker with the words in English that I’ve chosen for the title of this poem.

When will we ever learn?

– Victoria C. Slotto

Invitation: We’d like you to join us – not only as readers – but as writers by putting links to your own anti-war or pro-peace poems in the comment sections. Next week we’ll gather the links together in one post and put them up as a single page headed “Poets  Against War.”  Thank you!

Victoria at the Palm Springs Writer's Expo March 2012
Victoria at the Palm Springs Writer’s Expo March 2012

jr-cover-2VICTORIA C. SLOTTO (Victoria C. Slotto, Author: Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) ~  is an accomplished writer and poet. Winter is Past, published by Lucky Bat Books in 2012is Victoria’s first novel.  A second novel is in process.  Jacaranda Rain — Collected poems, 2012 is available on Amazon, as is the hot-off-the-press nonfiction, Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria’s poetry collection and non-fiction book are free to Amazon Prime Members.  Link HERE for Victoria’s Amazon page.

Peace Give I to Thee

Wow, the first in the series of Poets Against War or Poets for Peace. Hopefully I can do it justice! In riffing on peace and war, several things came together in my mind – or rather, many things came hopping through it! I hope the resulting series of images, words, and music will act as a meditation for you on this first day of Poets Against War. This will be synchro-posted at my blog, http://www.cloakedmonk.com. Feel free to reblog or synchropost elsewhere just link back to here.

First, a meme (my new favorite weird thing to do – make memes)…

wonka

Second, I have been noodling this around and the predominant thought I had was to sing a duet with my son, Colin Stewart. Colin is 17 and much more talented than I! But we held it together in order to sing an old church song, Peace Give I to Thee. Colin is playing the ukelele and singing. I confess that our sound system is not wonderful, so we both tempered ourselves to not blow out the microphones. It is accompanied by photos I took in the Bellevue Botanical Garden which bring me incredible peace.

Finally, the nature of the quest: Poets Against War or Poets for Peace. So black and white, it begs a reflection.

dichotomy

war destroys peace

hate destroys love

butterfly destroys chrysalis

child destroys dandelion

lion destroys lamb

lamb redeems lion

dandelion redeems child

chrysalis redeems butterfly

love redeems hate

peace redeems war

unity

 butterfly

And another old favorite, “Breathe Deep” by the Lost Dogs which speaks to the unity of all-even when we are uncomfortable with that unity.

Peace Out!

Terri

© 2013, post and photos, Terri Stewart, All rights reserved

terriREV. TERRI STEWART is Into the Bardo’s  Sunday chaplain, senior content editor, and site co-administrator. She comes from an eclectic background and considers herself to be grounded in contemplation and justice. She is the Director and Founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition that serves youth affected by the justice system. As a graduate of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, she earned her Master’s of Divinity and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction. She is a contributing author to the Abingdon Worship Annual. (The 2014 issue just released!)

Her online presence is “Cloaked Monk.” This speaks to her grounding in contemplative arts and the need to live it out in the world. The cloak is the disguise of normalcy as she advocates for justice and peace. You can find her at www.cloakedmonk.com, www.twitter.com/cloakedmonk, and www.facebook.com/cloakedmonk.

BARDO NEWS: Poets Against War, Poets for Peace

file000513414694Please unite with us on Into the Bardo for Poets Against War, which is really saying Poets for Peace. 

We will start with something special tomorrow (it may or may not include a poem, Terri Stewart will surprise us) and then each of the next six days we’ll host poems from six different poets. Throughout the week, we’d like you to join us – not only as readers – but as writers by putting links to your own anti-war or pro-peace poems in the comment sections. We’ll gather the links together in one post and put them up as a single special page. Please don’t worry about questions like whether you’ve been published or whether you think the work is good. These questions are irrelevant. It’s your heart in the work that counts. That’s where the power is.   So please unite with us in this one thing. Let’s put that energy out into the world. If you are so inclined, please also reblog this post and help us get the word out about our week of Poets Against War. Thank you!

Photo courtesy of morgueFile.

POET ACTIVISTS IN SOLIDARITY

 

“From time immemorial, poetry has built better bridges between people than those with bricks and stones. And these bridges do not get old or obsolete … ” [Change Is Born in the Womb of Poetry]  MujeebJaihoon


POET ACTIVISTS IN SOLIDARITY

by

Jamie Dedes

After much resistance, I finally joined Facebook under my name HERE and created a page for Into the Bardo HERE. Facebook is yet another something that can consume too much time, but it’s also a gold mine of information and introductions to talented, responsible folks from around the world. Through poet-Friend connections I recently received an invitation to participate in:

100 THOUSAND POETS OF THE WORLD (100 Thousand Poets for Change) – This puts me in mind of Sam Hamill‘s Poets Against the War, when hundreds of poets marched and read outside the White House in protest against the war in Iraq. That was a well-defined effort. In this case the first question that comes to mind is “What kind of change?” 

The first order of change is for poets, writers, artists, anybody, to actually get together to create and perform, educate and demonstrate, simultaneously, with other communities around the world. This will change how we see our local community and the global community. We have all become incredibly alienated in recent years. We hardly know our neighbors down the street let alone our creative allies who live and share our concerns in other countries. We need to feel this kind of global solidarity. I think it will be empowering.  Excerpt from the press release of March 2011 announcing the the first 100 Poets for Change global event that was held on September 24, 2011. The next global event is scheduled for September 29, 2012.

100 Thousand Poets for Change is a unified effort among activist poets, artists, photographers, and musicians working toward a sustainable world through simultaneous events held across the globe, basically consciousness raising and peaceful protest. This September under the umbrella of  100 Thousand Poets for Change, 700 events were held in 550 cities representing 95 participating countries united to promote environmental, social, and political change. That’s pretty amazing and down-right gratifying. 100 Thousand Poets for Change is not getting the press that the Occupy movement is getting, but it is striking by virtue of its size, support, and sustainability.

Bob Holman and Margery Snyder, in an article on About.com said, “the beauty of the concept of 100 Thousand Poets for Change is that it is completely decentralized and completely inclusive.”  All those involved are hoping, through their actions and events, to seize and redirect the political and social dialogue of the day and turn the narrative of civilization towards peace and sustainability.

Throughout the year, there are also small local events. Even as you read here today, the Sharjah International Book Fair is in progress will run  through November 27. 100 Thousand Poets for Change was invited to participate and is actively doing so.

If this effort sounds like something that interests you as a poet and/or citizen of the world, check out the website HERE.

POETS AGAINST THE WAR started in 2003 by Sam Hamill is now defunct, but all the poems have been placed in a university archive. I was honored to find that two of mine are included. Sadly the web domain has been assumed by others for advertising. However, there is a bound collection of some of the original poems, Sam Hamill, Poets Against the War.

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AUDRE LORDE (1934 – 1992)

Caribbean-American poet, writer, activist

trying to make power out of hatred and destruction

trying to heal my dying son with kisses

Power by Audre Lorde, The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde

NOTABLE AND QUOTABLE

“[Poetry begins] that process by which we insure the future because we know so much more than we understand. We must first examine our feelings for questions, because all the rest has been programmed. We have been taught how to understand, and in terms that will insure not creativity, but the status quo. If we are looking for something which is new and something which is vital, we must look first into the chaos within ourselves. That will help us in the directions that we need to go–that’s why our poetry is so essential, is so vital. Now whether poetry has the responsibility to effect social change . . . it doesn’t really matter. As we get in touch with the things that we feel are intolerable, in our lives, they become more and more intolerable. If we just once dealt with how much we hate most of what we do, there would be no holding us back from changing it. This is true with any kind of movement. This is the way in which the philosopher/Queen, the poet-warrior leads.” Audra Lorde in an interview Karla Hammond, American Poetry Review, March-April 1980

©  Jamie Dedes, 2011 All rights reserved

photo credit ~ Audra Lorde (1980) by K. Kendall via Wikipedia and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.