poetic dichotomy

I rescued a wasp from near certain death at my own hands
– an arbitrary spur of the moment act of compassion
which changed nothing other than my own perception of life
– saved me dealing with the murderous taste of contrition.

Henry Alberto was the eldest son of a family from El Salvador
– determined to finish school he refused to join the local gangs
but they came for him after his graduation and 18th birthday
– shot him dead in retribution all within the same ghastly week.

I could have swatted the wasp and left its body to whither
– annoying buzzing unpredictable stinging nuisance that it was
and besides, there will always be another to take its place
– this random act of killing is disturbingly too easy.

Luis Padillo was a Navy chaplain caught up in rebellious carnage
– as sniper bullets flew in Venezuela he tended to the dying
selflessly risking his own life to offer soldiers the last rites
– death is the choice of the devil in our subconscious.

I took a soft cloth and trapped the wasp against the window
– the power of the executioner, finger on the trigger,
resisting the urge to squeeze the living juices from its body
– hostage released on the whim of the freedom giver.

Henry Alberto’s mother cradles the photo of her dead son
– overwhelming grief consumes her troubled refugee existence.
Father Luis Padillo may or may not have ended his days in Florida
– I have no idea how we should end this deathly poetic dichotomy.

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(two images that came my way this week – The iconic Priest and the Dying Soldier by Héctor Rondón Lovera from 1962 / Henry Alberto photographed on his graduation day and held by his mother Juana, taken by Patrick Tombola for a Sunday Times magazine article about Central American migrants fleeing poverty and gang violence to Mexico and, with luck, America).

 

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our place

we need to come a little closer
a little closer even still
understand what we are saying
the words    the meanings
the wherewithal.

we need to talk a little softer
whispers rather than shouts
understand our brothers and sisters
their cultures    beliefs
what makes them laugh out loud.

we need some more compassion
holding hands not dropping bombs
understand the fallout damage
in our minds    our hearts
our children’s wounds.

we need a new revolution
in a world that sets us free
understand our future evolution
peace    love    and unity
a lasting hope for you and me.

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(original artist unknown. From a display on Worthing pier May 2016, West Sussex, UK. Photograph by Colin Hill. I seem to have lost my thread of connections between posts and poems and lost myself in peace poetry. I guess the world needs some more of that right now. Where are all those 60’s poets when you need them most? Make love not war! Bread not bombs! Give peace a chance!)