09 September 2007

The Poets Cry Out

I love reading poetry that speaks against injustice and speaks truth to a deaf world. In previous wars, art and literature played a huge role in speaking to the U.S. conscience. I've felt more silence in the present war, however.

Then I discovered Poets Against War and the Split this Rock Poetry Festival. I'm relieved to hear so many poet voices and believe a poem can end a war if we'll hear it and make it our own.

I've been inhaling Naomi Shihab Nye's 2005 collection entitled You & Yours again. It is filled with truth-telling and brings a needed view of humanity in the midst of this war in Iraq. This one speaks to me today:

Dictionary in the Dark

A retired general said
"the beautiful thing about it"
discussing war.
We were making "progress"
in our war effort.
"The appropriate time to launch the bombers"
pierced the A secion with artillery as
"awe huddled in a corner
clutching its small chest.
Someone else repeated, "in harm's way,"
strangely popular lately,
and "weapons of mass destruction"
felt gravely confused about their identity.
"Friendly" gasped. Fierce and terminal.
It had never agreed to sit beside fire, never.

-Naomi Shihab Nye

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