It is Dangerous to Read Newspapers
While I was building neat
castles in the sandbox,
the hasty pits were
filling with bulldozed corpses
and as I walked to the school
washed and combed, my feet,
stepping on the cracks in the cement
detonated red bombs
Now I am grownup
and literate, and I sit in my chair
as quietly as a fuse
and the jungles are flaming, the under-
brush is charged with soldiers,
the names on the difficult
maps go up in smoke
I am the cause, I am the stockpile of chemical
toys, my body
is a deadly gadget,
I reach out in lo9ve, my hands are guns,
my good intentions completely lethal
Even my passive eyes transmute
everything I look at to the pocked
black and white of a war photo,
can I stop myself
—Margaret Atwood is a feminist novelist and poet, one of her most famous book is The Handmade’s Tale
The Day Before They Bombed Nagasaki
We sit at our kitchen table,
writing letters for the nuclear freeze.
Jars of applesauce stretch across the counter,
stained pink from the apple skins,
stores for the winter
that I do not trust we will have.
The after-light form Hiroshima and Nagasaki
has stained fifteen years of my life.
Every day a battle not to accept despair,
to pick the ripe apples before they fall,
to cook them, season them, pack them in jars
as if I were sure we would have a whole winter
to eat them, as if I were sure
there was a point in preserving something.
Every day a battle not to accept
the vision born of that light:
as I write, the skin across my fingers
tightens, strains back from my bones,
peels away like pink apple skin to bare
the crisp white bone beneath.
I pick the apples, store them for the winter
that I refuse to relinquish, the winter
in which I refuse despair
I grip the black pen tighter,
and write as if my one thin sheet of paper
were a shield to lift between
Nagasaki and the light to come.
If you have been watching the news recently, you know that the bigots, misogynists and racists are again spreading their form of evil in the world. There are minorities who are being targeted for genocide by ISIS. We have to help them. I wish that Divinity would come into manifestation and tell the people of this planet that there is only one God and that it doesn’t favor one spiritual path over another. Humans would still probably find a way to mess that up.
I am not comfortable with what I perceive is hanging over the world today. This is not a world that is anything like what it should be. Countries are still land hungry and people judge others and find them different and therefore dangerous. The leaders need to think about the big picture. Not their egos or what power they can gain, but what can help their countrymen and women. Health care can’t be ignored and education is vital for everyone. Children starving to death must stop. There is nothing, no, nothing more important than the children. Every time, we in the West allow a child to die while we are throwing away food, or paying for caviar or truffles; we as a species are sinning. We pay thousands to take care of pets, yet never lose a beat when a child dies. If a child dies in Africa, or in Iraq or in NYC, we as a society are responsible. Children are being bought and sold. They are being molested and abused and we don’t blink. However, let the price of gas rise and it is all over the news. Let the stock market drop a few points, everyone is alert. But if a child is beaten to death we “tsk” and shake our heads and think we have done our part. How many of these hungry, sick, abused, molested children grow up to be part of the darkness which hangs over the world? How many lives could be saved, how much could we improve the living conditions for millions of children around the world if we really, really cared?
We homo sapiens are hypocrites. We say the right things, we were taught to say them, and yet we do what benefits us no matter what the costs to someone else. We rationalize and make excuses for all the selfish, mean, thoughtless thing that we do. And we do a lot of them. Bless every hero and heroine who puts others first. Bless everyone who reaches out when they don’t have to, to help another, a teen, a poor child, a sick older person, a hungry elder or a child who will be dead tomorrow if they don’t receive medicine and food. Bless those who go without to give more to others.
I am praying that our hearts are changed and opened to give love, light, and goodness to others. May we open our hearts before we end up in another world war. I do not say this in jest. I think we are coming closer. I hope and pray that I am wrong. I hope we can change ourselves and therefore, change the world and fill it with light and love.
“We pray for all who hold positions of leadership and responsibility in our national life. Let Your blessing rest upon them, and make them responsive to Your will, so that our nation may be to the world an example of justice and look to you for mercy: shed the light of Your judgement upon us, O awesome and holy God. ” — Prayer from the Gates of Repentance.
These children need us.