This week my childhood friend and his wife lost their middle-age son to cancer. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose a child. As I share in their sorrow, I wanted to share this poem that I have posted a few times before. It expresses my understanding of what it is like to pass on from this life to the next.
I wrote this poem almost ten years ago. Thinking about the 4th of July and what independence day really means, I realized that it is all in the perspective from which it is viewed. It may be uncomfortable to look back at history the way it really was and know that for many generations, equality was nowhere to be found. A lot has changed in the last ten years, but inequality still exists in our nation. What will you and your children do to bring about change for the common good?
When all the fireworks fade into ashes
And the Bar-B-Que grills have cooled.
When the wide eyes of the children close in blissful sleep
Do you ever wonder what Independence Day really means…
To the ancestors of African slaves brought here in the holds of ships
Who look back at our forefather who bought and sold them,
Forefathers who wrote, “all men are created equal,”
And realize, the dark ones were not included.
In the words of, Thomas Jefferson, “less than human…”
Or, perhaps, to the Native Americans who loved the free and open spaces
Only to be run off their lands, pushed into the deserts,
Left where summer heat scorched them
And winter snows chilled them to the bone,
Where animals were few and crops refused to grow…
Were they a part of “All men are created equal?”
No, in the words of our former Presidents,
“They were just savages… they were less than human.”
Or, perhaps, to the ‘”Illegal Aliens” who scrub our floors,
Pick our fruits and vegetables, build our houses,
And mow our lawns and mulch our shrubs,
Are they part of “All men are created equal?”
No, in the words of many of us, “They are just ‘wetbacks,’”
Nameless illegals, “…Who should be sent back where they came from.”
Though we may not say it, some of us think they too are less than human.
How quickly we forget the dark side…
How soon we lay aside our guilt, insult, and pain…
We rise as a flower in the sidewalk crack,
Stepped on over and over again,
Yet, we rise and bloom from the strength of our roots.
Independence Day is a time to “Bloom”…
To draw from the strength of our roots… not to forget, but to move on
To all that we can become, in a land where in God’s eyes,
We all want the best for our children. As father’s. we hope to impart some wisdom to them in hopes that they might avoid some of the things we had to face. This reading from Rudyard Kipling came across Facebook on Father’s day. I thought it was such a great capsule of wisdom, not just for sons and daughters, but for all of us. Keeping one’s head while all around us others are losing theirs is very hard to do. We saw that very clearly with the Capitol riots in DC after the last election.
All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know. ― Ernest Hemingway
They call it the big dip
Some the “mid-life crisis”
Nest is empty
Chicks have flown
“What do we do now?”
So hard beginning backwards
Rewriting our life
Together or separate
Working back to love
(Put aside for the cause)
Finding that “bird” has flown;
But, it can be done
Counselors can help
The spark renewed
And life moves forward once more
Lisa at d’Verse, gave us several lines from Earnest Hemingways writings and asked us to write a poem inspired by one them. I chose: It is very hard to write this way, beginning things backward… –The Torrents of Spring (1926) by Earnest Hemingway.
Mid-life brings with it many challenges. Many crash and burn at this stage of life. Others rethink life and with help move forward reinventing their relationship. It is a challenge either way. The ceramic above says it all for me. I dropped it one day and broke it in half, but the felt on the back kept it together. I glued it together, and on the back I wrote, “Cracked, but not broken” This is how I see our relationship.
I could have chosen this Hemingway line as well: The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.–A Farewell to Arms (1929)
“…The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse…
What will your verse be?”
Today at d’Verse, Mish asked us to choose a favorite line from a movie and write it into a poem. I chose a line Robin Williams tells his class in the movie, Dead Poets Society. “…The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse…What will your verse be?”