“Poetry empowers the simplest of lives to confront the most extreme sorrows with courage, and motivates the mightiest of offices to humbly heed lessons in compassion.” Aberjhani, Splendid Literarium: A Treasury of Stories, Aphorisms, Poems, and Essays
“Angora Poets World Caffé. Sundays at 8 p.m. Paris time. Our mission is to demonstrate a global fraternity of literary and musical artists of divers styles and backgrounds. Under the nearly worldwide confinement the caffé is attracting artists who are now traversing borders and cultures. The caffé attracts poets, prose writers, singers and musicians from the 4 corners of our planet. To date we have presented artists from France, USA, U.K., Canada, Berlin, Serbia,Tibet, Sri Lanka, Lesotho, Sudan, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Abu Dhabi, Russia and China Our artists present mostly in English, French and Arabic. We also listen to participants voicing in a number of other languages which is very well received by our listeners. We ask of our artists to be developed, young and old, published and unpublished, so we enjoy a high caliber of artisan quality.” Founder and Moderator, Moe Seager (Moe Seager- Paris Calling)
“The main hope of a nation lies in the proper education of its youth” Dutch Philosopher and Scholar of the northern Renaissance, Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (1466-1536), The Erasmus Reader
The right to basic education should be a given in a developed country of the 21st Century. Apparently it’s not: The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals found it necessary to affirm last Thursday that the right to a basic education, meaning one that provides access to literary education, is a fundamental right under the Constitution. The court made this holding in the case of Gary B. v. Whitmer, a lawsuit brought by students of several of Detroit’s worst-performing schools. The case will be sent back to a lower court for a new ruling.
“Plaintiffs in this appeal are students at several of Detroit’s worst- performing public schools. They credit this substandard performance to poor conditions within their classrooms, including missing or unqualified teachers, physically dangerous facilities, and inadequate books and materials. Taken together, Plaintiffs say these conditions deprive them of a basic minimum education, meaning one that provides a chance at foundational literacy*.
“In 2016, Plaintiffs sued several Michigan state officials, who they say are responsible for these abysmal conditions in their schools. Plaintiffs allege that state actors are responsible, as opposed to local entities, based on the state’s general supervision of all public education, and also on the state’s specific interventions in Detroit’s public schools. The state argues that it recently returned control to local officials, and so it is now the wrong party to sue.” United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
PEN America filed an amicus brief in support of the students’ position that access to literacy is a fundamental right. In response to the news, PEN America’s deputy director of free expression research and policy, James Tager, said:
“This ruling affirms one of the most commonsense yet profound concepts in society: There is a fundamental right to read. Literacy is the spark that animates the First Amendment. Without access to literacy, freedom of speech and of expression are just words on a page, inaccessible to broad segments of the population. In order for our democracy to function, every citizen must have the opportunity to fully partake in public life. As this case continues, we hope that the circuit court’s decision will translate into real change for these students who are fighting for their own right to a basic education.”
The content of this post is courtesy of the United States Court of Appeals, Wikipedia, Shaking Up the Schoolhouse, and PEN America.
PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. It champions the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.
Today’s responses are gifted to us by Anjum Wasim Dar, Sonja Benskin Mesher, and Adrian Slonaker. I’ve included an old poem of my own. Do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are encouraged: beginning, emerging, and pro poets.
This Is The House
this is the house I dream of and long for
on a beautiful piece of Gods Earth, where I
first cried and opened my eyes, I am told
It was a cool evening of June otherwise hot
It was my Grandma’s house, made of strong
wood and and a roof of iron sheets-
logs burnt in a small brazier kept inside the room-
the place a hill station built around a lake, bordered
by the River Jhelum-houseboats lined the lakeside,
but my grandma’s house was on land, with trees
around a small lawn, and a small vegetable garden
but I have heard only stories about the house
never saw it nor ever will, the real houses are fading
‘we shall meet in a house in heaven’ father used to
say,’pray for that for that is real’ , and so he left this
world, and grandfather too and grand mother even
before him- all in a home in heaven-
and now we say, ‘stay home stay safe’ as safe as
houses indeed. but not always, not in war with bombs
falling and shells blasting’ but perhaps in a pandemic
of the Corona kind,
O heart mind and soul, true love strong faith breaks all
roofs,distances, spaces and walls
houses or no houses, the faithful are, will be together
all culture erased all traditions wiped out-life’s uncertainty
matters not for new ones, memories survive like tender
butterflies as love and life itself flutters with colors
fragrance and the softness of a pansy flower.
“POETRY PEACE and REFORM Go Together -Let Us All Strive for PEACE on EARTH for ALL -Let Us Make a Better World -WRITE To Make PEACE PREVAIL.” Anjum Wasim Dar
Houses of Silence
they dwelt in houses of silence
chewed through grudging fences
swam in oceans of best intentions
tried to find one another on the
shores of their fears and confusions,
alienation was their warrior shield
their lives were lived in a boxing ring
the fist in the glove was a malignancy
and the mom passed her days sparring,
she thought the winner would be the
woman who was pretty and hushed
she saw herself as a victim,
she exhausted her own mother’s charity
when she turned her silence on kinfolk
there was no one else she could
beat upon or say her grief to or even
show her bruises and lacerations ~
except for that wee child of silence, useless in matters of such magnitude
Daybreak mimicking Homer’s “rosy-fingered Dawn”
(once hammered into my head by a high school literature teacher)
attacked the starkly white aluminum siding
on the boxy property
my parents had built just before I turned two.
They’d never predicted
that an accountant a decade my senior
would someday park his sedan in the driveway
under the basketball hoop –
where my brother and I played “H-O-R-S-E” –
after said sibling and Mom and Dad had departed
for an August adventure in Boston that I’d
flaked out on
following one of our gargantuan arguments
or that the visitor would deflate my dream of what
my deflowering would look like,
unfolding on the family room floor as
a poorly-paced procedure between
a basket of oily onion rings and a
but I didn’t regret the “meh,”
since it had to happen sometime,
and at least I’d proved I wasn’t
too grotesque for sex,
as some of my classmates had concluded,
so I raced through my prayers and nestled
on the settee for an
as a black-and-white sitcom
flickered across the TV.
“The coronavirus pandemic is a world-changing event, like 9/11. There was a world before Covid-19. And there will be a world after Covid-19. But it won’t be the same.” Oliver Markus Malloy,What Fox News Doesn’t Want You To Know
They’re heroes, you know, real heroes
Not the ones in capes and caps, No!
The ones in scrubs, masks, nursing clogs
Daily on extended shifts, exhausted
As fate would have it, often succumbing
And when not, still the concerns for
Possible transmission to family, to friends
To strangers along their commute, and “I worry for my parents,” says one
On his steadfast mission, another
Fears for her unborn child, six months
pregnant, with rounded tummy she works
For her patients, for colleagues, for the
Greater good, while a president sets
A precedent for lies, misinformation,
Stupidity, cruelty, self-absorption in the
Face of a nation in need of solidarity,
A peoples at risk, a worldwide community
In want of coordination and collaboration
They put him to shame, the heroes of
The pandemic, honoring their trust,
Donning their scrubs, masks, nursing clogs
Daily on extended shifts, committed
Compassionate, self-sacrificing, latter-day
Heroes of the human condition, heroes of
A world that will never be the same
Dedicated to all medical workers but especially to my own critical care and palliative care teams.
WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT
This week, let us honor the heroes of the pandemic catastrophe. I have chosen to write a poem in gratitude for healthcare workers, but there are other heroes: the garbage collectors, the postal workers, the store clerks, the police and firefighters and first responders, the Meals-on-Wheels teams, and all the people who are sheltering in place. Which latter-day heroes do you want to honor? All are worthy. Let us know in your poem/s and . . .
please submit your poem/s by pasting them into the comments section and not by sharing a link
please submit poems only, no photos, illustrations, essays, stories, or other prose
Poems submitted on theme in the comments section here will be published in next Tuesday’s collection. Poems submitted through email or Facebook will not be published. If you are new to The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, be sure to include a link to your website, blog, and/or Amazon page to be published along with your poem. Thank you!
Deadline: Monday, March 30 by 8 pm Pacific Time. If you are unsure when that would be in your time zone, check The Time Zone Converter.
Anyone may take part Wednesday Writing Prompt, no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro. It’s about exercising the poetic muscle, showcasing your work, and getting to know other poets who might be new to you.
You are welcome – encouraged – to share your poems in a language other than English but please accompany it with a translation into English.