Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Monday, January 21, 2008

One Deep Breath: vision

Hopes to visit in peace a farm,
somewhere in Iraq,
on the porch
talking
of
crops.

A year ago, I wrote about climbing the steps to the Lincoln Memorial with my dad and hearing him tell how Dr. King's famous speech affected him. This year, I'm writing about hearing a vision that is not so famous, but is an extremely powerful one. As I have frequently written about here, my father is a National Guardsman who has served twice in Iraq. When I first sat down to write this week's poem, I wasn't sure what I would write. I thought of my dad and of Dr. King.

I think our rememberance of Dr. King has a tendency to oversimplify his message, which was one of justice for *all* people - he spoke not only of the injustice of judging people by the colors of their skin, but also of the injustice of war, the injustice of taking from the Many to further enrich the few, of the ways that violence harms everyone - the person committing violence, the victim, even the person "on the sidelines" is harmed - each has a piece of their humanity taken by the act of violence. And Dr. King said that the way to counter this is not to engage in more violence, but to reclaim our humanity, to act as human beings with compassion and strength, the strength that rises above violence.

And I thought of my dad's return from war each time. I thought of his interpreter in Iraq, who had been a doctor until the war, when he and his family were threatened if he continued to treat people. My dad told me that he hoped to bring his interpreter and the interpreter's family here to the United States. He hopes to take S. to see my grandfather's farm and to meet the family, and he hopes one day to travel again to Iraq, so that he can see S.'s family's farm, sit out on the porch, and talk about something really important - how crops are grown on that land.

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10 Comments:

Blogger Roswila said...

Thank you for this post. It is deeply moving.

1/21/2008 10:44 AM  
Blogger spacedlaw said...

A great vision. I hope it comes true.

1/21/2008 12:08 PM  
Blogger tumblewords said...

A wonderfully healing vision in a touching and provocative post. Thanks for sharing that story.

1/21/2008 12:26 PM  
Blogger Crafty Green Poet said...

excellent post, I like how it ends particualrly

1/21/2008 12:39 PM  
Blogger susan said...

This is vision and hope. Well done and much respect for your dad.

1/21/2008 2:24 PM  
Blogger Rae Trigg said...

An end to war, hatred, violence ... there's a vision we should all be struggling to make come true.

1/21/2008 3:28 PM  
Blogger paisley said...

this was wonderfully powerful... your interpretation of this day makes me proud... very nice...

1/21/2008 4:33 PM  
Blogger Sandy Carlson said...

Nicely done. Peace for all people, yes, because something there is that doesn't love a wall....
Writing in Faith

1/21/2008 5:36 PM  
Blogger qualcosa di bello said...

gave me chills...what a beautiful way to say it!

1/22/2008 6:00 AM  
Blogger LittleWing said...

what a blessing...just last night one of the stations aired part of dr king's speech that rarely is heard and he spoke those very words...i was reminded and amazed at his wisdom and how powerful of a speaker he truly was...thank you for sharing abt your father...that he will return to see the land of iraq and the family farm in peace...amen

1/22/2008 11:17 AM  

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