The Spirit of John F. Kennedy

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The following is an excerpt of a speech given by Kennedy on October 26, 1963 at Amherst College in Massachusetts. The poet Robert Frost had died in January of that year. In the speech, the president spoke of Frost as well as the role played by artists in nourishing a nation’s spirit, and of the vital necessity of artists remaining free to speak the truth.


Speech transcript

Our national strength matters, but the spirit which informs and controls our strength matters just as much. This was the special significance of Robert Frost. He brought an unsparing instinct for reality to bear on the platitudes and pieties of society. His sense of the human tragedy fortified him against self-deception and easy consolation. “I have been” he wrote, “one acquainted with the night.” And because he knew the midnight as well as the high noon, because he understood the ordeal as well as the triumph of the human spirit, he gave his age strength with which to overcome despair. At bottom, he held a deep faith in the spirit of man, and it is hardly an accident that Robert Frost coupled poetry and power, for he saw poetry as the means of saving power from itself. When power leads men towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.

The artist, however faithful to his personal vision of reality, becomes the last champion of the individual mind and sensibility against an intrusive society and an officious state. The great artist is thus a solitary figure. He has, as Frost said, a lover’s quarrel with the world. In pursuing his perceptions of reality, he must often sail against the currents of his time. This is not a popular role. If Robert Frost was much honored in his lifetime, it was because a good many preferred to ignore his darker truths. Yet in retrospect, we see how the artist’s fidelity has strengthened the fibre of our national life.

If sometimes our great artists have been the most critical of our society, it is because their sensitivity and their concern for justice, which must motivate any true artist, makes him aware that our Nation falls short of its highest potential. I see little of more importance to the future of our country and our civilization than full recognition of the place of the artist.

If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him. We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth. And as Mr. MacLeish once remarked of poets, there is nothing worse for our trade than to be in style. In free society art is not a weapon and it does not belong to the spheres of polemic and ideology. Artists are not engineers of the soul. It may be different elsewhere. But democratic society–in it, the highest duty of the writer, the composer, the artist is to remain true to himself and to let the chips fall where they may. In serving his vision of the truth, the artist best serves his nation. And the nation which disdains the mission of art invites the fate of Robert Frost’s hired man, the fate of having “nothing to look backward to with pride, and nothing to look forward to with hope.”

I look forward to a great future for America, a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral restraint, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose. I look forward to an America which will not be afraid of grace and beauty, which will protect the beauty of our natural environment, which will preserve the great old American houses and squares and parks of our national past, and which will build handsome and balanced cities for our future.

I look forward to an America which will reward achievement in the arts as we reward achievement in business or statecraft. I look forward to an America which will steadily raise the standards of artistic accomplishment and which will steadily enlarge cultural opportunities for all of our citizens. And I look forward to an America which commands respect throughout the world not only for its strength but for its civilization as well. And I look forward to a world which will be safe not only for democracy and diversity but also for personal distinction.
Robert Frost was often skeptical about projects for human improvement, yet I do not think he would disdain this hope. As he wrote during the uncertain days of the Second War:

Take human nature altogether since time began . . .
And it must be a little more in favor of man,
Say a fraction of one percent at the very least . . .
Our hold on this planet wouldn’t have so increased.

Because of Mr. Frost’s life and work, because of the life and work of this college, our hold on this planet has increased.

***

‘Out, Out—’

By Robert Frost

The buzz saw snarled and rattled in the yard
And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood,
Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it.
And from there those that lifted eyes could count
Five mountain ranges one behind the other
Under the sunset far into Vermont.
And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled,
As it ran light, or had to bear a load.
And nothing happened: day was all but done.
Call it a day, I wish they might have said
To please the boy by giving him the half hour
That a boy counts so much when saved from work.
His sister stood beside him in her apron
To tell them ‘Supper.’ At the word, the saw,
As if to prove saws know what supper meant,
Leaped out at the boy’s hand, or seemed to leap—
He must have given the hand. However it was,
Neither refused the meeting. But the hand!
The boy’s first outcry was a rueful laugh,
As he swung toward them holding up the hand
Half in appeal, but half as if to keep
The life from spilling. Then the boy saw all—
Since he was old enough to know, big boy
Doing a man’s work, though a child at heart—
He saw all was spoiled. ‘Don’t let him cut my hand off—
The doctor, when he comes. Don’t let him, sister!’
So. But the hand was gone already.
The doctor put him in the dark of ether.
He lay and puffed his lips out with his breath.
And then—the watcher at his pulse took fright.
No one believed. They listened to his heart.
Little—less—nothing!—and that ended it.
No more to build on there. And they, since they
Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.

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And the buzz saw continues to snarl and rattle…snarl and rattle…

iflag

Jewish Values vs. Non-Jewish Values

When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d,
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night…

–Walt Whitman

See also my essay, A Volcanic Eruption of Jewish Values?

Detached

Life was raging all around me

All was surreal

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I was looking at me

Madly searching for you

I knew what had happened

I felt sorry for me, I embraced

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I was watching me

Sobbing… trembling

With my sore heart throbbing

I put my arms round me, and comforted

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I was hearing me pleading

Begging for help

“Do not be afraid”

I whispered in my ear, and reassured

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I was observing me

Staring at the oblivion

Lost… lonely… petrified

I held my hand

And took me home

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I can’t anymore

I hide my eyes
So not to see
I can’t anymore
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Flowers crushed at the foothill
Daggers slashing lilies in the neighborhood
Tearing them to pieces
Orphaned Poppies weeping in agony
begging for help
Anyone there?
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I can’t anymore
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A  humiliated father, a home pulled down
A terrorised child, a bleeding wound
A mother traumatised, burying her beloved
The blind-hearted, blind-minded
Still splashing his cheeks with blood
Is there more?
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I can’t anymore
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Sanctuaries desecrated, disgraced
Ostracised Jerusalem pleading for help
To no avail
Arab-leadership, naked and subdued
Monsters against each other
Lambs and sheep in front of invaders
Drunken in the arms of molesters
Who wants more?
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I can’t anymore
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I hide my eyes
So not to see
I can’t anymore
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  أخفي عينّي ورا كفّتي

كي لا ارى
.
فأنا لم اعد أحتمل
.
زهور الروابي تداس
نرجس الحي تمزق
وتقطع بالخناجر
وشقائق النعمان  ثكلى
تشكوا الشقاء تبكي يتمها
هل من معين
.
أنا لم اعد أحتمل
.
أبٌ يهانُ… بيت يهدم
طفل يُروَّع…جرح يسيل
وأمٌّ تُلوع بدفن الحبيب
وعميِّ القلب والوجدان
يحثو الدماء على وجنتيه
هل من مزيد
.
أنا لم اعد أحتمل
.
أقصى يدنس
مسرى النبي ينجس
وقدس وحيدة
تنوح  وتصرخ ولا من مجيب
وعُرْب ذليلة كاشفة سوءاتها
وحوش  كواسرعلى بعضها
سخول نعاج مع الغاصبين
تحتسي الخمر بأحضان الزناة
وتنهق هل من مريد
.
أنا لم اعد أحتمل
.
أخفي عيني ورا كفتي
كي لا ارى
فأنا لم اعد أحتمل
أنا لم اعد أستطيع

A Tale of a Palestinian little girl

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A little girl, she was…  young and mischievous
In a rusty barrel, she’d roll
From the orchard, down to the foot of the mountain
When someday she’d feel tired
She’d sit still… and ponder
Whisper to pomegranate kernels
Caress almonds with a stone
Make Jokes with lemons
Tell stories of good people to orange blossom
Recite the news to carob, hawthorn and apples trees,
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A little girl, she was…  young and mischievous
she’d run around gathering poppies
Drink morning dew scented of wild iris
She’d chase butterflies and race hummingbirds
Fill water jars from the well, empty them in clay zeer
From broken glass pieces she’d paint windows
and of pebbles and stones, walls for her little house
with girls and boys she’d sing and dance
celebrate a wedding, in “bride and groom” game
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When evening
Her head, plaited with clouds
Would lay to embrace her grandma’s lap
Most tender most beautiful pillow
A warm and gentle hand… as paradise
would caress her curly hair
A sweet velvety voice as of an angel
Tell her stories, perhaps she’d fall asleep
With smiling heart and smiling lips she’d close her eyes
Open her transparent wings and fly
Above the vineyards and fig and olive fields
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A little girl, she was…  young and mischievous
One rosy moonless night
Sky shimmered with her diamond gown
Stillness fell asleep like a breathing angel
This gorgeous night is mine, I’ll sleep on the terrace
I will count her many stars
will not forget or ignore any
I’ll uncover her secrets
Tonight without a doubt, I’ll learn the truth
I will count her many stars, one by one
I’ll know their essence
and if I look hard enough
I may even see the face of the One who created
who sparkled sky with stars
Her giggling mischievous eyes whispered
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On a straw carpet, her eyes looked up and far
Struck by breathtaking beauty
Her heart gripped in awe
Her mind flew away
Her vision disintegrated
She didn’t give up though
Continued counting
Star after star after star
and since that day
She has not finished yet
If you ever meet her
You would find her still counting
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Don’t let them

Don’t let their cruelty take away your tenderness

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Don’t let their barbarity injure your bravery

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Don’t let their brutality cut off your wings

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Don’t let their crimes kill your dreams

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Don’t let their arrogance hurt your joy

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Don’t let their maliciousness wipe away your smile

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Don’t let their supremacy wound your dignity

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Don’t let their savagery discolour your hope

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Don’t let their arms disarm you of your steadfastness

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Don’t let their ruthlessness empty your heart of love

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Don’t their inhumanity rob you of your own humanity

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We Are Closing Our Apologies

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We Are Closing Our Apologies

A locked and boarded department store
A bakery that is no more—
This is how, it seems to me,
Christians close their apologies.
An end to the never-ending,
A glance up high into the trees,
Terminus to condescending,
The songbirds’ mouths now all shut,
The vessel empty, the cord is cut—
In suchlike manner do songbirds choose
To close our apologies to the Jews.

No more the ‘anti-Semite’ cap
To wear upon our tousled hair,
It always was a clumsy fit
Never looked right in the sun
Toss it now, get rid of it!
Leave as well Steinberg’s book,
Cohen’s movie, the dour look
Of Gershon and his Jewish mom,
Halakah of the grave, be gone!
A vestibule of hope protect
A new enlightened intellect,

A new and improved detergent
To wash away the Jewish Marxists
Who understood the rules of the footrace
As they hotfooted from the left
To the right side of the political spectrum;
Ready…set…go!
The race is on. Don’t be slow!
That ignus fatuus is dead now, thank God.

***

Jewish suffering was an indoor houseplant
That grew out of a tiny clay pot, but ended up eventually covering
The entire living room window
And blocking out the sun.
We are closing our apologies because
There is nothing left to apologize for, and because
No one could really remember why we were apologizing
In the first place, as a maggot was found in the pudding.

Simka, Simka!
I’ll be damned! Whatever happened to you?
Woodstock, Monterey,
Cantata on a drizzly day
LSD potpourri
With wild and free casuistry

On and on…
A thousand apologies cracked open and stirred
Into an omelet of failure, as Jews carried the banner of
Equality and civil rights in Alabama, Mississippi,
Hell, everywhere but in Palestine!

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!
Kind of rings a bell now, doesn’t it?

Penetrating benevolence:
Mother preparing dinner
Father smiling donnishly out on the porch;
The table is all set, oh yes—
Finest china! Polished silver!
Forks, knives, spoons,
Crystal goblets most exquisite—
But we noticed an ant crawling
Across a napkin…

Isn’t it a marvel?
Isn’t it a pity?
Verily streams of blood,
The traffic in the city!
A benediction on a cattle pen,
Let’s be friendly,
You and I,
This stall is auspicious.
The goyim are donkeys.
Isn’t it propitious—
A mohel with a new
Mathematical game theory
To calculate the dependability of the nations
To kowtow, roll over,
And beg for their
Bellies to be rubbed?
Born is the darksome
Mother’s son.

…and then another,
And after a day or two
The house was overrun with them.

***

Standing up for civil rights—that’s fine—
Everywhere but Palestine!
Inconsistencies and consistencies
Inhabiting the mind like litanies
Hypocrisy…hypocrisy…hypocrisy…

This cup is the new testament in my blood
Which is shed for you,
But behold the hand of him that betrayeth me
Is with me on the table.

Be sensible.
This is madness.

A locked and boarded department store
A bakery that is no more—
This is how, it seems to me,
Christians close their apologies.
An end to the never-ending,
A glance up high into the trees,
Terminus to condescending,
The songbirds’ mouths now all shut,
The vessel empty, the cord is cut—
In suchlike manner do songbirds choose
To close our apologies to the Jews.

No more the ‘anti-Semite’ cap
To wear upon our tousled hair,
It always was a clumsy fit
Never looked right in the sun
Toss it now, get rid of it!
Leave as well Steinberg’s book,
Cohen’s movie, the dour look
Of Gershon and his Jewish mom,
Halakah of the grave, be gone!
A vestibule of hope protect
A new enlightened intellect…

A new enlightened intellect.

By Richard Edmondson

Satire: Poet Ahmad Matar on Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi

الشاعر أحمد مطر في هجاء الشيخ يوسف القرضاوي

عادَ لِيُفتي
هَتْكُ نِساءِ الأرضِ حَلالٌ
إلاّ الأَربعَ مِمّا يأتي
أُمّي، أُختي، امرأتي، بنتي

كُلُّ الإرهابِ “مُقاومَةٌ”
إلاّ إن قادَ إلى مَوتي
نَسْفُ بُيوتِ النّاسِ “جِهادٌ”
إن لَمْ يُنسَفْ مَعَها بَيتي

التقوى عِندي تَتلوّى
ما بينَ البَلوى والبَلوى
حَسَبَ البَخْتِ ش
إن نَزلَتْ تِلَكَ على غَيري
خَنَقَتْ صَمْتي
وإذا تِلكَ دَنَتْ مِن ظَهْري
زَرعَتْ إعصاراً في صَوْتي

وعلى مَهْوى تِلكَ التّقوى
أَبصُقُ يومَ الجُمعةِ فَتوى
فإذا مَسَّتْ نَعْلَ الأَقوى
أَلحسُها في يومِ السَّبتِ
الوسَطِيَّةُ: فِفْتي .. فِفْتي
أعمالُ الإجرامِ حَرامٌ
وَحَلالٌ
في نَفْسِ الوَقْتِ
هِيَ كُفرٌ إن نَزَلَتْ فَوقي
وَهُدىً إن مَرّتْ مِن تَحتي
***



هُوَ قد أَفتى
وأنا أُفتي
العلَّةُ في سُوءِ البذْرةِ
العِلّةُ لَيسَتْ في النَّبْتِ
وَالقُبْحُ بِأخْيلَةِ الناحِتِ
لَيسَ القُبحُ بطينِ النَّحتِ
وَالقاتِلُ مَن يَضَعُ الفَتوى
بالقَتْلِ
وَليسَ المُستفتي
وَعَلَيهِ.. سَنَغدو أنعاماً
بَينَ سواطيرِ الأَحكامِ
وَبينَ بَساطيرِ الحُكّامْ
وَسَيكفُرُ حتّى الإسلامْ
إن لَمْ يُلجَمْ هذا المُفتي

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

I am all of those

Even full
Bites of hunger eat my guts
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Clad with soft and silky garments
I feel bare, no clothes can veil
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Wrapped up cosy in a home so warm
My shivering bones are bitterly cold
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Snug and secure in my serene abode
In constant fear… ever terrorized
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No health problems or complaint
Yet throbbing pains tear me apart
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This being within is not only me
But all of those who roam the earth
Longing to be loved
Yearning to be Seen
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No warmth … No shelter
No wealth… No health
No food … No haven
Fleeting in stealth
Longing to be loved
Yearning to be Seen
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When a child lies in bed with hunger
When a baby dies for a droplet of water
When tots are torn with drones to pieces
Hearts of angels burst into flames… blazing fire
Souls of prophets split asunder
Heaven cries with rage and thunder
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Wait man… wait
God postpones… Never ignores
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Closing your eyes pretending not to see
God’s eyes neither snooze nor go to sleep
Tenderly caressing fathers who mourn
Watching over mamas who weep
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NO… No escape
We are all to blame
No lame excuse can wash our shame
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Don’t get me wrong, no offence intended
But truth can hurt and may even kill
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Gazing in the abyss while staying still
No longer an option… You have got a will
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Don’t go far searching for the truth
Look only inside, you’ll find it near within
Open your heart and sing my song
Praise the Sublime and join along
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Yes I am indeed all of those
Who roam the earth
Fleeting in stealth
Longing to be loved
Yearning to be seen
Don't Plant Anything But Love

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

In Memory of Mahmud Darwish – A Poem

      
Feb 15 2013 / 8:40 pm

Mahmoud Darwish.

Mahmoud Darwish.
 

By Manash Bhattacharjee

I learnt from your poems how
To wait upon death
And how waiting is a game as
Treacherous as death.

I learnt from you how the root
Of waiting is grasped in despair
And that there is no despair
More deceitful than hope.

Waiting helped you gather those
Roses along the way
Which grow only for travellers
Who walk the loneliest road.

You kept those roses as mementos
Of your nights when gunshots
Would remind you of the difficulty
To make love under the moon.

As you carried the landscape on
Your shoulders and looked
For your address in the clouds
The enemy laughed.

They thought you will grow weary
From repeating the same lines of loss
But they didn’t know those without a home
Are always hungry for memory.

Manash Bhattacharjee

– Manash Bhattacharjee is a poet, writer and scholar from New Delhi, India. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.


River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Have We Hit Bottom Yet?







He who with might extends through all existence hears words
Which I, his faithful servant, utter…

Swilling the waters of the ocean, the submarine
Sank beneath the surface, taking with it light, beauty,
And the feather of a dead seagull, in its downward draft.
All cheered and hoorahed as, with a nervous tick of its hydrodynamic control fins,
The titanium-hulled craft descended through the ripples of hoodwinking light,
Spectacularly placed, its chockablock ballast tanks rendering it
A slightly greater weight in the lesser weight of the sea surrounding it.

“Have we reached bottom yet?” asked the small child.
“Not yet, but we will…eventually,” replied the bearded man
Seated nearby, favoring the child with an indulgent smile.

Further down, further down, further down…
At 65 feet we encountered the detritus of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
“No pearl in an oyster that,” remarked one of the passengers,
While another expressed a great longing for some mango fruit.
“Take us down further,” ordered the captain, who was a crypto Jew.
At 110 feet we passed the corpses and the herbicide-poisoned jungles of Vietnam.
In this submarine, the ping of the sonar plays the melody of Taps.

“Have we reached bottom yet?” asked the child.
“Not yet, no,” answered the man, again with a smile,
Looking out the window himself now.

At a depth of 250 feet we came to that place in the road where
John F. Kennedy closed his eyes and that cabal of Sayanim had
Rushed in to fill the void, and at 300 feet the last remnant of sunlight
From the sea’s surface faded in total, while the crypto Jew at the helm
Called out again, “Take us further!” and the pump jets hummed merrily.
At 600 feet we encountered the cash-on-the-barrel sale of human souls
And the smuttiness of that place on the Potomac,

As the child asked once more, “Have we reached bottom yet?”
“No, I don’t think so,” said the man,
Tightening his grip on the armrest of his seat.

At 945 feet, we saw the missing limbs and missing teeth
Of Iraq, and the half-million Iraqi children we killed
Because we thought it was “worth it” and so we went back and
Killed 3 million more; and at 1290 feet we came upon the firing of
Rockets from beneath the grass, the explosions coming up out of the ground
Around the fleeing children, then at 1430 feet we saw the burning of El Chorillo,
The sludge of the Panama Canal, and the pilfered ruins of the Baghdad Museum.

“Have we?” asked the child. “Have we reached bottom? Have we
Gotten there yet?” The man gazed at the child and smiled again,
Only this time there was a hint of sadness in his smile.

One of the passengers opened a bottle of wine. “It reminds me,”
Said he, “of a story I once heard—of a man who dies in the depths
Of a vale. A great bird on top of a mountain flies down into
The depths of that vale where the man died; it eats the corpse,
Then it flies back up to the mountain. From its perch there, on a bare limb,
It vomits—it deposits dung—it drops pieces of the corpse down
Below on the people in the vale.”

At 1490 feet, we encountered a fiefdom, where we found
The warrantless searches and the broken doors of the Patriot Act.
“Have we reached bottom yet?” asked the child. The man did not answer.

The passenger who earlier had asked for mango fruit, inquired
Again if there were not some way we could possibly stop off and purchase some.
“Further!” screamed the captain. “Take us down further!”
At 1645 feet we saw the drones flying over Pakistan,
To the very furthest distance, all the way to the bags of Bagram,
The Abus of Ghraib, and the grimaces of Guantanamo, may lovely
Variegated life be remembered.

“I can taste your heart, and it tastes foul and despicable!”
The man turned his head and regarded the child disjointedly,
“Funny child, funny imagination…”

“I’d feel better if we could stop, or at least slow down,” said a woman
With a chrysalis-shaped birthmark on her face, looking doubtfully upward,
To the communications room, in the elevated chamber of the sub’s tower.
“Further! Down further!” pressed the Captain.
At 1820 feet we saw the dronefields of the Midwest and the
Comical abscesses of the NDAA, scattered here and there
Like conceptions of the meaning of “Ultimate Reality,”

The only sound now a slight noise coming from the shaft bearings, as the child
Waited in vain for the blowing of a whistle, the ceasing of
The petrol bombs of existence, “Are we there? When will we get there?”

The bearded man stared in torn, conflictive silence. At 2010 feet
We heard the clanging machinery of hypocrisy, the public pronouncements of
Presidential spokesmen, and the ice forge of contempt.
“All of it, every bit of it, is nothing more than a teleological train of progression,”
Averred the passenger who had finished the bottle of wine and opened another.
At 2370 feet there appeared a diseased, phlegmatic wasteland
Of broken necks, broken parodies, and electronic voting machines,

And at 2500 feet we felt the winds of non-change and the superlatives
Of greed, the force of inaction and the inaction of necessity. “Trust me, I
Know what I’m talking about,” said the passenger just before passing out, the bottle

Slipping from his hand. At 2700 feet, we encountered the full, existential
Jewish state and its Jabotinskyish orgasms of blood—and at 2790 feet
We came upon the Talmud, languishing in flea-infested side curls,
Palming off the pornography of the Chosen, mishnahs of malevolence—sitz im leben—“Why did you lead us here?” asked the child. “Were you misguided?
Did you not care?” By way of reply, the bearded man
Removed from his coat a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol,

Adroitly pointed the barrel to his head, and squeezed the trigger. He slumped.
Out of his pocket rolled a mango, as the child ruminated in silence.
“Further!” snarled the captain. “I want this vessel down further!”

At 2850 feet we saw the unraveling but never-ending clew of false flags
Leaked memos, and secret kill lists, and just before dropping to 3000 feet
We heard the whine of the drone, the sound of explosions, and the last
Scream from the lips of a 16-year-old boy—as again the child wailed,
Have we reached bottom yet?
Have we reached bottom yet?
Have we reached bottom yet?
I have thus, most Holy One, spoken of these cyclic explosions,
The thunder of the theraphosidae and the falderal of this fallen age.
Awaken now all pleasant strains, and let sacred hymns flow forth.

By Richard Edmondson

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

People with Green Hearts

Arabic poem,
Author شهرزاد الخليج,
Translated and illustrated by Nahida Exiled Palestinian

People with green hearts 
The colour of trees is the colour of their hearts 
Their dreams… water pure
 Their imagination… sky wide
 They are capable of infinite forgiveness 
Have the ability to bathe in optimism
 And to wash themselves in dreams to the very last drop

 People with green hearts
 Don’t ever expect to be stabbed from the back 
By a hand that once shook theirs

 Their days and seasons are works of art painted with hope
 They don’t learn easily from their mistakes
 Instead, they keep repeating them like a child’s bad habits

 

 They offer hearts around them infinite trust 
They’re incapable of seeing the colour black in existence

 People with green hearts 
Come intimately near to those who pass them by in life, 
So much so that they are glued to them 
They cling to the minute details 
Ever trusting of those around
 Creative in finding excuses to the faults of others 

 People with green hearts 
Cling onto beginnings like mad 
Reject endings fiercely 
They can’t comprehend separation

They trick reality with a dream 
The dream with an illusion 
On the map of hope, they occupy vast areas

People with green hearts
 Don’t recognise mistrust or deception 
Nor do they cause others to taste portrayal 

They start with purity
 And end up with faithfulness
 Longing steals much of their time
 They keep loyal to their tales until death 
Yesterday has immense reverence in their lives

 People with green hearts
 Play the role of peace doves
 Spreading love on earth 
Help in building abodes of joy 

They hasten to mend the broken hearts
 And talk with the voice of affection

About love and dreams

They make you feel that it’s them 
Who invented the colour “white” in this universe

 People with green hearts 
Hold fast to childhood, despite the passing of years 
Their hearts forever young 
Their souls never grow old, nor become polluted 

Their faces reflects babyhood innocence 
Their eyes mirror truthfully their essence
They’re not good at hiding, or deceiving 
And fail miserably in wearing masks

 People with green hearts
 Never fail you when you need them
 They are the first to cover your needs

 When feeling overwhelmed;

They are the first thing that you lay your eyes upon 

The first who come to your rescue when drowned in sorrow 

When you are suffocated they’d give you their breath 
They’d make their lives a life ring thrown to you

 People with green hearts
 When they love, they love passionately 

When they are faithful, they are faithful passionately
 When they get a shock, the get a shock passionately

 And when they are broken, they are broken passionately
 When they give, they give passionately 
And when they cry, they cry passionately

 If you find yourself embraced

 By one of those with green hearts 

Cling onto them… passionately

 As they are a rare treasure

 In times of colour-shifting hearts 

Beloved People of Gaza

 Beloved people of Gaza
 Treasured heroes of Palestine
Teachers of love, courage and dignity
 Archetype of humanity

 Allow me to kneel down
 And wash your feet with my tears

 Kiss your blessed hands
 And sprinkle your beautiful faces
With musk and scented rose petals

 While we sat pondering like fools
 Utterly helpless
 Talking much and doing little
 Going round and round in circles
 Thinking how to help
 What to offer you to relief some of your pain

 As usual Full of surprises,
You come out to our rescue
 Soothe our agony
 You offer most precious gifts

 Lessons in bravery
 Steadfastness, patience, perseverance, 
Defiance, resilience
 Optimism against all odds
 Creativity in the face of utter oblivion

 You’ve demonstrated;
We are the captives
You are the free ones


 You chose resistance over subjugation

 You decided
 Never to surrender 
Never to be enslaved 
Not even to superpowers 
Would we ever learn from you? 
 

The ultimate challenge

By Nahida Exiled Palestinian

 Would any decent human-being accept to live with those criminals?

The Ultimate Challenge
I confess, we Palestinians
Don’t posses
Your excellent qualities
We lack so much compassion
And generosity
Unlike us, you profess
Lofty principles
And superior morality
Deep rooted ethics
And love of humanity
PROVE IT
Invite the Zionists home
Give it all away
Teach us altruism
And live in a camp

Be our model
In self-sacrifice
Live as a refugee
Give them your land
And if they want more
Try to understand 
If they kill your wife
Offer them your child
If they shoot your eye
Tell them you don’t mind
For the sake of peace
You’d become blind
You’ve always been thoughtful
So loving and kind

A lioness of Palestine !

By Nahida Exiled Palestinian

Fearsome and Awesome

 

 Look at you... my beloved
Look at you
This little fist of yours
Slams before the world
The final word
This little fist of yours
 Says it all
RIGHT is GREATER than MIGHT

The sparkle in your eyes
BLAZING FIRE
Burns deep  

Renders them to ashes;
Soulless shadows
Void of life
Void of love
Void of heart
Remnants of human beings 
They wither away

Before your magnificence
They bow down
Lost… Defeated… Humiliated…
Drenched in shame

Humanity you embody
Dignity you teach
Wonders you inspire
Tall you stand, my sweetheart

Tall you stand
 

What mother of glory gave birth to you
O great daughter of Palestine!

Your Tears

Your pain

 Your sacrifice

A Wake Up call
To a sleepy world
 A zombie world

A beaten world

Who forgot what it means to be alive

Lift your fist
Shake your wrist

Move the world
Beloved daughter of Palestine

Hear her ROAR…World
Hear her roar
 Hold her heart
Kiss at her feet
Hear her roar
 Be filled with Awe

World, I Love You

Nahida -exiled Palestinian

In times of great upheaval and when darkness prevails, it is the remembrance of what is important that will keep us going.
Hope thrives by sustaining and fostering our humanity, amidst the gloomy hours of turbulence and anguish.

 ***
The other day
I looked into your eyes

I saw Heaven 
My heart smiled
Fluttered its wings
and flew away

Looking above, I saw my heart growing

 

Growing… growing
Overflowing
Pouring out love
Embracing All

Engulfed

Trees swayed in jubilation 
Hills and mountains imbibed within 

 Flowers and meadows twirled with elation

 Soil and sand trembled of devotion


  Babies, dolphins, birds and butterflies

with beautiful grins, bounced around 

  
With a child’s heart
 Playing hide and seek
Rivers and oceans pounded with joy

 Earth, planets, galaxies and stars
Danced while nesting inside
 My heart contained
All there is

 Besotted, swept off my feet
I swirled with joy

 

In disbelief, I looked at me . . . shrinking
Rose Petals . . . scattered
 
A speck of dust . . . faded away
 
 I am gone

World. . . Be Warned

Nahida the exiled Palestinian

When you wake up one day
 Into your nightmare
 When you hear hordes of lunatics call for war

When freaks shriek “Apocalypse Now”

When Luciferians shout:  “End it All… End it all”
When you hear our planet sobbing
When the oceans cry of pain
When Cain kills Abel many times over

When our children lose their compass
When excited and delighted as they play soldiers

When their inspiration “shoot and kill”

When they see blood, a type of humour

 and horror movies are entertaining

 When their lives have no meaning

When hues of violence thrive and prosper

When abrasion called beauty

When mutilation praised as fashion
Inflicting harm becomes “my choice”
 Hurting self is a form of “art”
Hurling insults is “my freedom”
When babies are used to sell and buy
When tiny babes are tricked into molestation

When innocent girls are sexualized

When their purity is vandalized
When truth-seekers are chastised 
When being dumbed down is glorified

When truth-tellers… ostracized
 When the righteous criminalized 
Then hear me O World

BE WARNED
Await the hurricane

Let it not be forgotten

The darker it becomes 
The closer is the dawn

Remember

Rainbows always come
After the storm

What Really Matters!

When all gets dark

And life loses its colours
When evil tightens the grip

And the wicked leads the way

When fall falls before its time

and frost grows around
When your heart is torn and worn,

and you feel like throwing it away

Don’t give up, just wait a little while,
Turn your back
Close your eyes and
Remember what you have forgotten
Try to find if you’ve lost, 
Apologize if you’ve hurt,
Forgive if you have been hurt,
Caress if you’ve been deprived,
Pursue, if you have dream
Share if you’ve been bereft,
Giggle if you’ve been aggrieved,
Embrace if you’ve been shun,
Give if you’ve been denied,
Excel if you’ve been scorned,
Feed if you’ve tasted hunger
Rejoice if you’ve felt somber
Accompany those who know


Hold on tight to those you love,

Cherish those who care for you,
Because life is too short
and it is full of wonder



Beloved Jerusalem

By Nahida the exiled Palestinian

Ten measures of sorrow God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest
Ten measures of pain God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest
Ten measures of agony God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest
Ten measures of heartache God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest
Ten measures of suffering God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest

Ten measures of trauma God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest
Ten measures of patience God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest
Ten measures of endurance God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest
Ten measures of bravery God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest
Ten measures of benevolence God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest
Ten measures of determination God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest
Ten measures of generosity God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest

Ten measures of modesty God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest
Ten measures of tenderness God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest

Ten measures of blessing God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest
Ten measures of kindness God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest
Ten measures of joy God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest
Ten measures of wisdom God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest

Ten measures of elegance God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest
Ten measures of peace God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest
Ten measures of harmony God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest

Ten measures of tranquility God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest
Ten measures of grace God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest

Ten measures of sweetness God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest
Ten measures of compassion God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest
Ten measures of gentleness God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest
Ten measures of mercy God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest
Ten measures of faithfulness God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest
Ten measures of devotion God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest
Ten measures of love God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest

Ten measures of beauty God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest
Ten measures of hope God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest

Ten measures of holiness God gave to the world
Nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest

Only in Palestine

By Nahida the exiled Palestinian

In Palestine, good and evil assemble
In stark contrast
An epitome of creation
In Palestine, heroism meets malice head on 
No concealment, no pretence
In Palestine, kindness confronts bitterness
Mercy grows defiant
“Never forget and never forgive” mantra is brought to shame
In Palestine, walls all around 
Yet, sitting on the fence is no longer an option 
One must choose a camp
In Palestine, from prophetic schools saints and angels graduate 
Yet, out of sorcery spells fiends and devils are frothed into being
In Palestine, hatred is a chain, millennia old 
Pulling to Hell of depravity
 Beasts who promote
In Palestine, endurance is a meadow, blossoming through parched soil
Painting the horizon
Tears of elation and whispers of devotion
In Palestine, tenderness is a melody, sung by Gaza shores
Growing in abundance, filling hearts and minds
Dancing at twilight, healing girls and boys
In Palestine, love is a rainbow, shimmering above
 Lifting to Heavenly splendour 
Sublime nostalgic souls
In Palestine, faith is ocean-deep
Patience knows no boundaries
Sincerity soft-tactile and hope… sky-wide
In Palestine, sinners are repentant
The pious clothed in modesty and lovers intertwined
In Palestine, sisters made queens, brothers are protectors
Children are adored, fathers held up high
but under mothers’ feet Paradise is laid down
In Palestine, the hungry is fed, the lonely is embraced
The lost will be guided and the searching will find
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