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Learn from the Sadness

Learn from the sadness
of a starless night.
Learn from the tears of a mother
near the grave of her son,
learn from the Lord Almighty
in the thundering sky
above Calvary,
learn from the Pharaoh
asleep near his first born
on a night
shattered by screams.
Learn from the swollen lips
of Africa's dark-eyed children,
learn from the families huddled silent
in Central America's countless graves,
learn from the shadows
on Nagasaki's walls,
learn from the toothless women
walking to Hitler's chambers.
Learn you shall not sacrifice
the weak.
Learn that sacrifice
in the name of freedom
leads not to the Promised Land
but to darkness.
Learn you shall not buy freedom
with another's death.

Moses,
you did not want to serve,
living among gentle shepherds,
beholding a God
without voice,
without demands.
Until the flames
entranced you,
their righteous tongues
talking loudly
of bondage,
shouting
for freedom.
Long red tongues, licking
the barricaded front doors
of Egypt's dying children,
as God shielded his eyes
from the price of liberation.

Moses,
was it you
on the low cross,
wood still smoldering
from that lonely pasture?
Did you hear him cry out for his father
as the world grew still,
cry out for his father
as the world grew dark,
cry out for his father
until the pink ember heart
gave up its glow?
What is it we fear
that death becomes our weapon,
that children must die
to hallow our myths?
Who has taught us
and whom will we teach?
Learn you shall not buy freedom
with another's death.

© 2004 Anson Wright, from Sandstone Monastery

 

For the Hopi

I dreamed it was the last day of niman kachina.
I dreamed it was July 16, 1945
and the priests were in their kivas.
The walls of the kivas were shaking,
feathered altars were surrounded by bright lights,
pottery danced in the air.
I saw painted racers cowering at the foot of the mesas,
sacred tablets shattering beneath dried cornstalks,
fetuses twisting in their wombs.
I saw a spruce tree thrown to the ground,
a sandstone figure with a missing right arm,
white men with binoculars.
I heard talk of destruction,
talk of useless desert and Trinity site,
talk of a missing brother,
an Anglo-Saxon mystic,
a first ritual of power.
I heard talk of ceremonies with wine and brandy,
of a small people with dark eyes,
of a sacred land without water.
I awoke on a bed of corn
with rain on my cheeks.

© 2004 Anson Wright, from Sandstone Monastery