Her Name is Sharbat Gula

You saw me as a refugee.
My piercing eyes your prize.
I was, am more than that.
I walked miles over mountains.
Mountains of earth, violence
hatred and poverty.

You asked no permission.
You saw in my eyes . . . what?
Pain, loss, my future?
My future was with or without
your use of me.
Your lack of concern for me.

Your future, on the other hand
calloused or not,
your future was in my eyes.
And they appeared everywhere
while they were still here.
One click and you were gone.

I became your prize photograph.
I was your prey.

Mish hosts Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. She asks us today to “look into my eyes”, giving us several ways to do that in her prompt for our poem.

My poem is written from the perspective of Sharbat Gula. Her photo was taken in 1984, by Steve McCurry and subsequently used as the cover for the June 1985 issue of National Geographic and the large book National Geographic: The Photographs published in 1994. This photo has been called “The First World’s Third World Mona Lisa.” The photo was published without her consent and the identity of the photo’s subject was not initially known. At the time, she was a child living in the Nasir Bagh refugee camp in Pakistan during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

National Geographic later searched for her, not knowing her name. They found her and produced a documentary “Search for the Afghan Girl” which aired in March 2002. In her recognition, National Geographic created the Afghan Girls Fund, a charitable organization with the goal of educating Afghan girls and young women.  In 2008 the scope of its mission was extended to include boys and was renamed the Afghan Children’s Fund. After finding Sharbat Gula, National Geographic also covered the costs of medical treatment for her family and a pilgrimage to Mecca. Hers is an amazing story and can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghan_Girl

Tectonic Shift

Voices gain volume
numbers explode,
paradigm shift dawns.

Breeze gathers force
waters churn,
tsunami rolls in.

Murder abhorrent
eclipses pandemic,
births needed polemic.

Privilege unmasked
blinders torn asunder,
we will change.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today Frank asks us to write a 3 line poem….or a poem with 3-line stanzas. Photo from Pixabay.com

In these times . . .

dark clouds gather,
humidity thickens.
Thunder mumbles, then roars
lightning rips through skies.

Slip inside for thine own relief
breathe in thine own security.
Or gather outside ‘neath city lights
take hands in solidarity.

Pray together for soothing rains
to ease this land’s parched soul.
Then work together that all may live
without the threat of storms.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, combining yesterday’s prompt word “slip” and today’s prompt to write a poem that related to rain.

Sarcophagus . . . how has it come to this?

PROMPT FROM TOADS FOR April 30: The final day of National Poetry Month 2020
“A few minutes from now, you will lose all means of communication with humanity.  You will not die, but will no longer be able to interact with the world. Whats the last thing you say?”

Entombed in silence,
solitudinously cocooned
in diaphanous gauze,
but nothing to see.
Nor can I hear.
Senses extraneous
when it is only me.
No exit,
only an aperture to my mind.
And so I choose to hum
not aloud, but in my mind.
Hesitantly, quietly,
internally.
Until my head is screaming
screaming that song.
What the world needs now
is love, sweet love.

But alas.
It is too late.

And shared with dVerse, the virtual put for poets, where it’s OLN Thursday.

Take a moment – the newcaster is on for just a moment…then comes the video at about 26 or 28 seconds in…..it is incredibly uplifting!  I PROMISE you will love it! A wonderful piece to listen to as we end NAPOWRIMO 2020!

…and who are we, if not similar to

. . . those hands, those fingers, that face.
Those eyes,
seeing me as I see you.

Genetic relatives
mountain gorillas in Rwanda, Uganda
lowland gorillas in western Africa

and me. Visiting you.
Those hands, those fingers, that face.
We are so alike. Akin.

And in this new Corona world
I feel more akin,
stumbling in my own shrinking habitat.

Have we plundered too far?
Been too sure of our advanced selves?
Has our arrogance been revealed

by a novel virus
that recognizes humans
only as we truly are?

Too smug beings
who caged others
and now it’s payback time.

Photos taken in Washington DC, May 2019: my husband’s hands (in black and white); and the hands and face of a gorilla at the National Zoo.

Poem written for day 24 in National Poetry Writing Month. Toads  asks us to write about “nature’s wonders . . . how everything is connected.” 

Lest someone be offended by this post, please know I do not take this virus lightly. It is a horrific disease that is affecting so many people globally. My heart goes out to all those affected, including those who work so others might live a daily life. Stay safe everyone. I pray daily for a vaccine that this scourge may never happen again.

Covid-19, The Unveiler

Welcome to the After Awards,
bracelet signifiers distributed
and assigned.
Hero. Survivor. Privileged.

Before the Age of Corona
we lived unaware.
Blithely took much for granted.
We thought nothing of what we had
when so many others had nothing.

A home, savings, vacations
books and toys for our kids.
Safe neighborhoods
cupboards chockfull
and mobility.

In donning masks
our eyes began to see.
Privileged were we.
We watched numbers
numbly, then fearfully.

Even the privileged succumbed.

And then came the New Dawn.
BC took on a second meaning,
Before Corona.
And we understood,
after being assigned
our Privileged bracelet.
It was a jewelry of shame.
And yet,
now we actually were,
because we lived.

And we would shed that arrogant air,
and we would share
and we would care
and we would love.

corona-4962578_1920
Day 7 of national poetry month where the challenge is to write a poem every day.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets where Bjorn asks us to write a poem about the pandemic, for example, how it might look on the other side. At Toads, we are asked to somehow write about bracelets. Image from Pixabay.com

To all my readers, stay safe. Stay healthy.

Wishing

If I could choose, let us be a kaleidoscope.
Created by One with artistic eye,
teacher of Truth who understands,
together, we all shine best.

You, me, everyone as glass shards.
Infinite hues, shapes and sizes,
knowing we are at our finest
melding into one design.

Sun and moon do shift their paths,
causing solar temperaments to flare.
Tempted to mirror that discord,
reflections may tip, slightly askew.

Then quietly, with kindly understanding,
One gives but a gentle twist.
We realign, nudged ever so slightly,
even more beautiful than before.

None of us misshapen.
No color better than another.
We mirror each other’s good will,
design so glorious to behold.

Would that we could truly be
one magnificent kaleidoscope,
birthed within the cosmos.
Each bit valued,
an intricate part of the whole.

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets.  Today Mish is hosting and asks us, “Do you ever wish you could just wave a magic wand, eliminate everything that creates havoc, unrest, uncertainty, injustice? I do. Today I am asking you to do the same. Dream with me. . . create and describe a ‘new world’ as you envision it.” 
Photo from Pixabay.com

Remove Thy Blinders

And still they hide
behind partisan masks,
minus apertures.

Occupant in driver’s seat
tantrum spittle spews.
White-knuckled, weaves erratically
beyond civility, decency, decorum.
Down-shifts –
crash-dummy hurtling forth.

Redefines killing fields
beyond ecology to necrology.
In cages, beside borders,
ours and those across the seas.
Still they hide behind partisan blinders,
apertures seamed resolutely shut.

Let slip the masks this hallow’s eve.
Rein in with blistered palms
what thou hast unleashed.
Your children’s children shall ask,
innocent heads tilted up to you,
eyes wide open in disbelief,

How could you?

I beg you,
transpose the occupant’s childlike words below
as theirs to you this night:

“History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way. It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don’t happen. Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool! I will call you later.”

Aye, your children’s children shall call to you,
standing upon your grave.
How could you not let slip your mask,
apertures torn asunder?
How could you not act then,
call foul that which ruled the land,
thinking of them and theirs to come.

Written for dVerse’s Open Link night where I’m hosting tonight. This virtual pub for poets hosts prompts on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Open Link night means folks can post any poem of their choosing — no prompt, no specific form or length. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come join us!
Quotation from Donald Trump’s letter to the President of Turkey, dated October 9, 2019: authenticity confirmed by White House.  Photo from Pixabay.com

Surround Sound

24/7 cycle news.
Despicable words
spewed from bully pulpits
met by rabid voices
raised to group-think.

24/7 cycle news.
Despicable acts,
violence stacked on violence.
Horrific acts
met by thoughts and prayers.

Put my mind at ease.
Find my quiet space.
Is now the time?
Accept teleprompter words
and be tomorrow like yesterday?

Where is the movement?
The push and shove
and marching and . . .
what?
Where is our energy . . .

to demand better?
To say enough is enough
and mean it,
do it,
live it.

Reckoning.
Power is born
when one joins one
joins one joins one
becomes many.

In this litany of hate
of otherism,
I shall seek a way
to make a difference.
Demand a difference.

I shall . . .
step out of my safe space.
Beginning here,
on this page,
because . . .

IMG_7456

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today Linda asks us to “think about things you do to put your mind at peace: pray, meditate, write, etc. Given the state of this country today, I just couldn’t go there . . . I can’t get there. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time.

Ode to the Lost

1972 . . .
High school field trip chaperone
battered yellow school bus,
ear plugs needed.
Kids chatter
shout across aisles.
Loud and louder voices join,
belt out singing, grins on faces

bye bye Miss American Pie
drove my Chevy to the levee
but the levee was dry
and them good old boys
were drinking whiskey ‘n rye
singing “This ‘ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die.”

2019 . . . 11 AM
High school field trip chaperone
battered yellow school bus,
kids plugged in.
Heads down, thumbs fly.
Some lips move
no sounds heard.
Eye contact? There is none.

2019 . . . 5 PM
Commuter rail, going home.
Same scene,
different place.
Heads down, thumbs fly.
Some lips move,
no sounds heard.
Faces never seen.

Don McLean’s American Pie
turned sardine humanity,
schooling no more.

fish-406564_1920

I’m hosting OLN today at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Folks can post one poem of their choice – no particular form, length or topic. By the way, “schooling” is a very social behavior of fish. It requires coordinated body positions and synchronized movements. And for those of you not familiar with the song American Pie, click below for a listen – topped the Billboard charts in 1972. Photo from pixaby.com  Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come join us!