Tag Archives: Nature

Waiting to be Rescued

It’s hurricane season, something taken very seriously in the south and elsewhere. This poem and the quote offered don’t resolve the many problems that arise when your world is changed irrevocably, but words can be a comfort when your thoughts and feelings are linked to another fellow being. Be safe and brave out there. May you receive the help you need.

“Nature repairs her ravages – but not all. The uptorn trees are not rooted again; the parted hills are left scarred: if there is a new growth, the trees are not the same as the old, and the hills underneath their green vesture bear the marks of the past rending. To the eyes that have dwelt on the past, there is no thorough repair.”       George Eliot

 

Waiting to be Rescued                                                                     Maxine Kumin

 

There are two kinds of looting,

the police chief explained.

When they break into convenience stores

for milk, juice, sanitary products,

we look the other way.

 

When they hijack liquor, guns,

ammunition, we have to go in

and get them even though

we’ve got no place to put them.

 

Hoard what you’ve got,

huddle in the shade by day,

pull anything that’s loose

over you at night, and wait

to be plucked by helicopter,

 

saved by pleasure craft,

coast guard skiff,

air mattress, kiddie pool,

upside down cardboard box

that once held grapefruit juice

 

or toilet paper, and remember

what Neruda said: poetry

should be useful and usable

like metal and cereal.

Five days without shelter,

take whatever’s useful.

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Please Call me by my True Names

This is a well known poem, particularly as the plight of the young girl who is raped is based on a very real truth. The author, Thich Nhat Hanh asserts that he could be either a saint or a devil, he is both. Can any of us say otherwise?

Please Call me by my True Names                                                  Thich Nhat Hanh

Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow—

even today I am still arriving.

 

Look deeply: every second I am arriving

to be a bud on a Spring branch,

to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,

learning to sing in my new nest,

to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,

to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

 

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,

to fear and to hope.

The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death

of all that is alive.

 

I am a mayfly metamorphosing

on the surface of the river.

And I am the bird

that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.

 

I am a frog swimming happily

in the clear water of a pond.

And I am the grass-snake

that silently feeds itself on the frog.

 

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,

my legs as thin as bamboo sticks.

And I am the arms merchant,

selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

 

I am the twelve-year-old girl,

refugee on a small boat,

who throws herself into the ocean

after being raped by a sea pirate.

And I am the pirate,

my heart not yet capable

of seeing and loving.

 

I am a member of the politburo,

with plenty of power in my hands.

And I am the man who has to pay

his ‘debt of blood’ to my people

dying slowly in a forced-labor camp.

My joy is like Spring, so warm

it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.

My pain is like a river of tears,

so vast it fills the four oceans.

 

Please call me by my true names,

so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once,

so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,

so I can wake up

and the door of my heart

could be left open,

the door of compassion.

 

From Thich Nhat Hanh: After a long meditation, I wrote this poem. In it, there are three people: the twelve-year-old girl, the pirate, and me. Can we look at each other and recognize ourselves in each other? The title of the poem is “Please Call Me by My True Names,” because I have so many names. When I hear one of the of these names, I have to say, “Yes.”