Pearl Buck circa 1972 courtesy of Dutch National Archives, The Hague under CC BY-SA 3.0 nl license

I give you the books I’ve made,
Body and soul, bled and flayed.
Yet the essence they contain
In one poem is made plain,
In one poem is made clear:
On this earth, through far or near,
Without love there’s only fear.

Essence by Pearl Buck

Yesterday was the anniversary of Pearl Buck’s birth. She was the founder of Welcome House for the adoption of mixed-race children, thought in her day to be unadoptable. I consider her my spiritual mother.

“. . . the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members.” Pearl Buck (1892-1973).

Pearl Buck was an American novelist, writer, poet, activist, and humanitarian and the first woman to be awarded the Noble Prize in Literature (1938). She grew up in China and spent most of her life there until 1934. She had a deep affection for and knowledge of the countries of the East, not just China. She suffered through the Nanking Incident when the National Revolutionary Army captured Nanking (now Nanjing) in 1927. Many Westerners were killed, their homes destroyed, and their property stolen.  Her only biological child, Carol, had phenylketonuria (PKU), which causes mental retardation and seizures.

A lone child climbing the Mexico–United States barrier fence in Brownsville, Texas courtesy of Nofx221984 and generously released into Public Domain

Pearl Buck adopted seven mixed-race children. At a time when mixed-race children were considered unadoptable, she founded Welcome House, Inc., the first international, interracial adoption agency. Welcome House placed over 7,000 children.

It’s not hard to guess at just what white-hot outrage and disappointment this patron-saint of throw-away children would have knowing about the child detention centers on the U.S. Southern border, about presidential candidates using visits there as photo opportunities, and about the separation of refugee children from their parents. She would be profounly disappointed with the election of an oligarch who lives in ignorance and obscene self-indulgence while others sleep on the street and go hungry. One can guess at her anger and sadness over the children in South and Cenral America, Africa, and the Middle East running to escape violent environments, or the use of children to serve as soldiers in the Middle East and Africa, or about the numbers of children in third-world countries who die of hunger before the age of five for the wide-world’s greed and lack of care and will.


Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* Remembering Mom, HerStry
* Three poems, Levure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
* Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review
* From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems)

A mostly bed-bound poet, writer, former columnist and the former associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove,I Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta/ Phor(e) /Play, The Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, a curated info hub for poets and writers. I founded The Bardo Group/Beguines, a vitual literary community and publisher of The BeZine of which I am the founding and managing editor.

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton



  1. The only book I ever read of Pearl Buck has been ‘The mother’.
    As I was yet only a teenager, and didn’t know yet the overall situation in the world, it was harrowing and horrifying reading for me, a bomb in my young life, but i discovered in her a real soul, not just in thoughts and words, but ever active in all the ways she could to at least alleviate, if not cure, all the pain around her. That book was an early eye-opener and heart-opener for which I am ever grateful to her.
    In my own way my own life too soon became dedicated to the same Aim, and even more.
    For through Conscious Evolution into the next step of our Humanity, whether one lives in Auroville or elsewhere, it is to the cure of the root-problem that one is contributing: human beings are meant to emerge from the ego-consciousness into the soul-consciousness, and then only will our societies everywhere become at last truly humane, that is, loving and caring.
    Thank you, Jamie, for celebrating Pear Buck’s memory and giving me this opportunity to celebrate it as well. I love the wonderful photo of her that you chose… Such a beautiful being, physically too, even in her old age!


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