Today I would like to share three works of writing (from the many incredible voices that are out there) that speak for themselves and that offer a plea, an aspiration and a possibility for a better relating to and being with one another in what is our undoubtedly complicated world.
The first is a piece by Khalil Gibran. He challenges us to contemplate a different world view
“Your thought is social science, a religious and political dictionary. Mine is simple axiom. Your thought speaks of the beautiful woman, the ugly, the virtuous, the prostitute, the intelligent, and the stupid. Mine sees in every woman a mother, a sister, or a daughter of every man. The subjects of your thought are thieves, criminals, and assassins. Mine declares that thieves are the creatures of monopoly, criminals are the offspring of tyrants, and assassins are akin to the slain. Your thought describes laws, courts, judges, punishments. Mine explains that when man makes a law, he either violates it or obeys it. If there is a basic law, we are all one before it. He who disdains the mean is himself mean. He who vaunts his scorn of the sinful vaunts his disdain of all humanity. Your thought concerns the skilled, the artist, the intellectual, the philosopher, the priest. Mine speaks of the loving and the affectionate, the sincere, the honest, the forthright, the kindly, and the martyr. Your thought advocates Judaism, Brahmanism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. In my thought there is only one universal religion, whose varied paths are but the fingers of the loving hand of the Supreme Being. In your thought there are the rich, the poor, and the beggared. My thought holds that there are no riches but life; that we are all beggars, and no benefactor exists save life herself”.
The second poem is by Marge Piercy and comes from her Collection of Poms in – The Moon is Always Female
Right To Life
A woman is not a pear tree
thrusting her fruit in mindless fecundity
into the world. Even pear trees bear
heavily in one year and rest and grow the next.
An orchid gone wild drops few warm rotting
fruit in the grass but the trees stretch
high and wiry gifting the birds forty
feet up among inch long thorns
broken atavistically from the smooth wood.
A woman is not a basket you place
your buns in to keep them warm. Not a brood
hen you can slip duck eggs under.
Not the purse holding the coins of your
descendants till you spend them in wars.
Not a bank where your genes gather interest
and interesting mutations in the tainted
rain, any more than you are.
You plant corn and you harvest
it to eat or sell. You put the lamb
in the pasture to fatten and haul it in to
butcher for chops. You slice the mountain
in two for a road and gouge the high plains
for coal and the waters run muddy for
miles and years. Fish die but you do not
call them yours unless you wished to eat them.
Now you legislate mineral rights in a woman.
You lay claim to her pastures for grazing,
fields for growing babies like iceberg
lettuce. You value children so dearly
that none ever go hungry, none weep
with no one to tend them when mothers
work, none lack fresh fruit,
none chew lead or cough to death and your
orphanages are empty. Every noon the best
restaurants serve poor children steaks.
At this moment at nine o’clock a partera
is performing a table top abortion on an
unwed mother in Texas who can’t get
Medicaid any longer. In five days she will die
of tetanus and her little daughter will cry
and be taken away. Next door a husband
and wife are sticking pins in the son
they did not want. They will explain
for hours how wicked he is,
how he wants discipline.
We are all born of woman, in the rose
of the womb we suckled our mother’s blood
and every baby born has a right to love
like a seedling to sun. Every baby born
unloved, unwanted, is a bill that will come
due in twenty years with interest, an anger
that must find a target, a pain that will
beget pain. A decade downstream a child
screams, a woman falls, a synagogue is torched,
a firing squad is summoned, a button
is pushed and the world burns.
I will choose what enters me, what becomes
of my flesh. Without choice, no politics,
no ethics lives. I am not your cornfield,
not your uranium mine, not your calf
for fattening, not your cow for milking.
You may not use me as your factory.
Priests and legislators do not hold shares
in my womb or my mind.
This is my body. If I give it to you
I want it back. My life
is a non-negotiable demand.
The next poem speaks more directly to us men, who – and this is sadly true – are the most directly connected with the violence and suffering we experience across the globe. The author is Douglas Krefting
A Spiritual Poem For Men
“TAKE NOTHING FOR YOUR JOURNEY”
Drop your illusion
of who you think you are
and what you think
you should be doing.
Hey, nothing man
what the hell
are you doing here?
This killing and pillaging
and making money
is work for real men,
men with guts enough
to grab the glory,
to stand and die
for one another
some idiot decided
another war would
save the economy,
make him famous,
give him more power to
Now women, kids, the weak;
take them, use them,
That’s what real men do.
What else are testicles for?
Rights, mercy, love;
don’t bother us with that.
Have a drink. Have three.
Make a million, or more.
Take more. Join
our merry band of men.
That’s the spirit—
of killers of life who are
by other’s ideas of what
a man should be.
Then comes that other voice,
a gentle whisper telling me,
“You, you live out of
who you really are.
Drop all your offensive defense,
the anger and aggression
that you habitually use
to protect your self from the pain
caused by the thoughtless
self centered offensive defensive
aggression of others
who cannot yet see
anger begets more anger
aggression begets more aggression.
You, love enough to bring more love
no matter the cost.
Yes, even the angry macho-men.
Be gentle, be meek.
Die if you have to, but
do not seek
to fall in with them.
Remember I made you
who you really are.
Stand in it!
Take courage from it!
Don’t let them break you.
Remember, you were born broken,
to be My follower.
Let others do what they will.
You, take nothing
—yes, everything—in service to
Me who resides in everything.