We’ve come out of the dust
in our mother tongue
not to praise the people
with astronomical hoards of bucks
and numbers, but those who’ve risen
out of volcanic ashes, those pushed
into labors for biddings not theirs,
who’re capable of envisioning peace
between nations when negotiations
take work with credible research
and willingness to hear clearly,
while a missile fires off at the twitch
of a ring finger. We’re here to give
our piece to the masters of war
who may be disinterested in seeing
what’s before them, as they duck
responsibility for the consequences
of their acts just to maximize profit.
Every day the masters of war fight
the human consensus, masters who,
stumbling upon disputes, provide
not wisdom but lethal arms to every
side, who in the face of Earth’s limits
of materials wage their public war
for control and to gut education.
And yet we’re here to recognize
those who’ve stood for peaceful
coexistence, who understand links
of firing off a missile to destruction
on the ground, who can envision
many years of peace, with altruism
toward those in need, and not forget
that war is a catastrophic collapse.
James Grabill’s work appears in Caliban, Harvard Review, Terrain, Mobius, Shenandoah, Seattle Review, Stand, and many others. Books – Poem Rising Out of the Earth (1994), An Indigo Scent after the Rain (2003), Lynx House Press. Environmental prose poems, Sea-Level Nerve: Books One (2014), Two (2015), Wordcraft of Oregon. For many years, he taught all kinds of writing as well as “systems thinking” and global issues relative to sustainability.
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