Monday, July 31, 2006

 

The Sources of Peace - Rukeyser

"If we believe in the unity and multiplicity of the world, if we believe in the unity and multiplicity of man, then we believe too in the unity and multiplicity of the imagination. And we will speak across the barriers, many to many...We are against war and the sources of war. We are for poetry and the sources of poetry. They are everyday, these sources, as the sources of peace are everyday, infinite and commonplace as a look, as each new sun... All the poems of our lives are not yet made. We hear them crying to us, the wounds, the young and the unborn – we will define that peace, we will live to fight its birth, to build these meanings, to sing these songs."

- Muriel Rukeyser

And a Rukeyser poem about speaking across barriers:

St. Roach

For that I never knew you, I only learned to dread you,
for that I never touched you, they told me you are filth,
they showed me by every action to despise your kind;
for that I saw my people making war on you,
I could not tell you apart, one from another,
for that in childhood I lived in places clear of you,
for that all the people I knew met you by
crushing you, stamping you to death, they poured boiling
water on you, they flushed you down,
for that I could not tell one from another
only that you were dark, fast on your feet, and slender.
Not like me.
For that I did not know your poems
And that I do not know any of your sayings
And that I cannot speak or read your language
And that I do not sing your songs
And that I do not teach our children
to eat your food
or know your poems
or sing your songs
But that we say you are filthing our food
But that we know you not at all.

Yesterday I looked at one of you for the first time.
You were lighter that the others in color, that was
neither good nor bad.
I was really looking for the first time.
You seemed troubled and witty.

Today I touched one of you for the first time.
You were startled, you ran, you fled away
Fast as a dancer, light, strange, and lovely to the touch.
I reach, I touch, I begin to know you.

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