Pity the Nation, voices of Poet Prophets

Lebanese-American poet, Khalil Gibran (1883-1931) public domain illustrration


Pity The Nation
Khalil Gibran, 1933, “The Garden of the Prophet”

Pity the nation that is full of beliefs and empty of religion.
Pity the nation that acclaims the bully as hero,
and that deems the glittering conqueror bountiful.

Pity a nation that despises a passion in its dream,
yet submits in its awakening.

Pity the nation that raises not its voice
save when it walks in a funeral,
boasts not except among its ruins,
and will rebel not save when its neck is laid
between the sword and the block.

Pity the nation whose statesman is a fox,
whose philosopher is a juggler,
and whose art is the art of patching and mimicking.

Pity the nation that welcomes its new ruler with trumpeting,
and farewells him with hooting,
only to welcome another with trumpeting again.


American poet, Lawrence Ferlinghetti (b. 1919), photo credit voxtheory under CC BY-SA 2.0 license


“PITY THE NATION”
– Lawrence Ferlinghetti (After Khalil Gibran) 2007

Pity the nation whose people are sheep
And whose shepherds mislead them
Pity the nation whose leaders are liars
Whose sages are silenced
And whose bigots haunt the airwaves
Pity the nation that raises not its voice
Except  to praise conquerors
And acclaim the bully as hero
And aims to rule the world
By force and by torture
Pity the nation that knows
No other language but its own
And no other culture but its own
Pity the nation whose breath is money
And sleeps the sleep of the too well fed
Pity the nation oh pity the people
who allow their rights to erode
and their freedoms to be washed away
My country, tears of thee
Sweet land of liberty!

Link HERE for more of Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s poetry


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

Love and a cough …




SMALL WIRE

My faith
is a great weight
hung on a small wire,
as doth the spider
hang her baby on a thin web,
as doth the vine,
twiggy and wooden,
hold up grapes
like eyeballs,
as many angels
dance on the head of a pin.
God does not need
too much wire to keep Him there,
just a thin vein,
with blood pushing back and forth in it,
and some love.
As it has been said:
Love and a cough
cannot be concealed.
Even a small cough.
Even a small love.
So if you have only a thin wire,
God does not mind.
He will enter your hands
as easily as ten cents used to
bring forth a Coke.

– Anne Sexton from The Complete Poems: Anne Sexton (Mariner Books, 1999)

Too often you’ll see the five lines beginning “As has been said …” left standing alone. Rather sad because the entire poem is just too beautiful.

In a review of The Death Notebooks, Erica Jong wrote of Sexton.” She is an important poet not only because of her courage in dealing with previously forbidden subjects, but because she can make the language sing.”


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

on a whim and a whisper, a poem

over the woman’s left shoulder
your breath hummed
a background dirge…
for the echo of her lonely feet
plodding the snow-covered streets
to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital,
dripping shame with her broken water
while you wed another in the Byzantine manner
No used-goods for you though you were the user
The child born saw the mote in your eye
growing like Pinocchio’s nose
when, as kin to a secret vice,
you kept her in your dresser drawer
to be pulled out on a whim and a whisper
Is anyone looking?
You missed the wedding
and the short tortured marriage …
You were never there
to teach her how to be with men…
and you weren’t there
when the sweet boy was born
Then, one year,
in honor of Father’s Day,
they dug up your casket
popped the lid open
and set themselves free at last

© 2017, poem, Jamie Dedes; Phoenix Rising photograph courtesy of morgueFile


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ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

the hawk has flown, a poem … and your Wednesday Writing Prompt

black and white
“Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.”
― George Carlin


white
a ghostly memory
of damask roses
night-booming jasmine
olive trees, heavy with fruit

black
reimagined into white and
gone the fear of bombs
gone the crumbled buildings and crushed hearts
the abandoned cities, the empty streets
now the children play, they study
the houses stand and the gardens grow
hope towers, a moral high-ground
the ghost is the dove
and the hawk has flown

© 2016, poem and Illustration, Jamie Dedes; All rights reserved; the Bleeding Heart Dove photo below is courtesy of morgueFile.


WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

Times and places of peace leave no scars to jog our memories and stoke the fires of our hope. Remember peace or imagine it: What would a world at peace look like?

If you feel comfortable, leave your poetry or prose or a link to it in the comments section below.  All work shared in response to this prompt will be published in a post here next Tuesday.


Jamie’s THE WORDPLAY SHOP: books, tools and supplies for poets, writers and readers

ABOUT THE POET BY DAY