Monday, January 4, 2016

Monday's Poetry: "Out of Respect"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

President Obama appears to finally be preparing to make some moves against America's gun insanity.  He has started to at least speak out on the topic, and he is planning a town hall type of meeting to focus on gun control.  He is also making noises about issuing executive orders that will make it harder for criminals and deranged individuals to arm themselves.  This, of course, has conservative politicians up-in-arms (pun intended) as they rush to microphones to complain bitterly about the President's unlawful power grab.  Everyone from Mitch McConnell to Charlie Sheen is pissed off at the President's uppity-ness in daring to address the subject of guns.

The following poem from writer and storyteller Dylan Brody was penned in the days just following the horrific shooting of the first-graders and their teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown.  In his poem Brody decries the awful impact that silence has on our lives.

President Obama, you have just twelve months left in office.  Please make them count!

"Out of Respect"
by Dylan Brody

Out of respect for the children
let us not speak of gun control.
Let us grieve in silent outrage
lest one of those small figures
carrying memories of fearful
moments, cupboard cuddled,
waiting with a teacher for an
end to either deadly shootings
or themselves think this horror
might have been averted
had we all been willing, even once
to dream beyond heroic violence
to the far more challenging, more
courageous, more inspiring vision
of heroic peace.

Out of respect for the victims
let us not speak of mental health
but rather, soothe the conscience
of a country with simplistic categories,
good guys, bad guys, innocent and
guilty, lest we lose to shades of gray
our mindfulness that a culture closed
to those who most need help,
who least are able to afford much-
needed meds, who cry and stamp and
tantrum, is not to blame, but only those
who once cast out and told they can’t
be saved return in blazing rage inhabit shadow
and all the rest the pious light.

Out of respect for the soldiers
let us not speak of peace.
For if a world of diplomatic, thoughtful
problem solving is a possibility, why then
how dare we send our loved ones out
to die, to strive in terror and privation,
to sacrifice their bodies and their minds,
their limbs and senses to explosive conflict
far away, outside the rules of civil conduct
where to kill is just as much a job as filing,
cleaning rooms or sliding cans
past bar-code scanners.

Out of respect for our history,
speak not of genocides committed,
of infected blankets given out,
of trails of tears and wounded knees,
of treaties broken, promises abandoned,
reservations cordoned off and redefined
as minerals emerged and unexpected
resources came to light and seemed
more valuable than earth or sky
or human beings.

Out of respect for tradition
let us not speak of change.
Out of respect for the dead
let us all still our tongues.
Out of respect for the past
let us never speak of the future.
Out of respect for the wealthy
let us not speak of the poor.
Out of respect for the poor
let us not speak of the economy.
Out of respect for the worker
let us not speak of unions.
I am out of respect.
Let us now observe
not a single moment of silence.

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