cosmophilia (questioncurl) wrote,
cosmophilia
questioncurl

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Politics and poetry

 I found this poem in an old copy of The Sun Magazine today. It's by Robert Bly, a poet who tries to use the traditional ghazal form in his English poetry, and at least in this poem, it works. But more than form, it's the actual message of the poem that caught me -- I feel as if I've been asking the same question since 2001: why does no one cry out?


Call and Answer
August 2002

Tell me why it is that we don't lift our voices these days
And cry over what is happening. Have you noticed
The plans are made for Iraq and the ice cap is melting?

I say to myself: "Go on, cry. What's the sense
Of being an adult and having no voice? Cry out!
See who will answer! This is Call and Answer!"

We will have to call especially loud to reach
Our angels, who are hard of hearing; they are hiding
In the jugs of silence filled during our wars.

Have we agreed to so many wars that we can't
Escape from silence? If we don't lift our voices, we allow
Others (who are ourselves) to rob the house.

How come we listened to the great criers -- Neruda,
Akhmatova, Thoreau, Frederick Douglass -- and now
We're silent as sparrows in the little bushes?

Some masters say our life lasts only seven days.
Where are we in the week? Is it Thursday yet?
Hurry, cry now! Soon Sunday night will come.
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