From: Judith Goedeke
This poem was inspired by specific terrorist attacks, and applies equally to the ongoing, everyday, barrage of violence swirling around us. It was inspired by the magical comfort a mother provided her child. It was inspired by the work we are all here to do, which requires a steady hand, clear vision and a peaceful heart. How shall we center ourselves in this turbulent new year?
The Poem: he shouts from the dark room
. . . his mama scoops him up, rocks him
says “everything is okay, don’t worry
nothing bad can happen where Qu’ran is”
she nods toward a pile of books
a splash of yellow Curious Georges
and the thick, white one
“where Allah is, no harm can come”
she sings to him softly in Farsi
the sounds flow like sunshine
onto olive and orange trees
his eyelids flutter
©Judith Goedeke 2019
Dedicated to the memory of the 51 Muslims murdered in their mosques on March 15, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Questions, Prompts & Ideas:
I invite you to wander through the words, paying attention to places that entice or thrill or repel or otherwise jump out. The shift may show up in your body, mind, emotions or spirit. Linger there in tender exploration; surround your path with loving kindness. Poems are my questions and my statements of possibility that I share in hopes you will explore your own. Feel free to agree or take issue. Change the words if that suits you. And please invite yourself fully into the poem by changing any pronouns that don’t fit.
Are you a member of a group held in contempt by some folks? Are you a member of multiple groups held in contempt by some folks? Are you at risk simply existing in proximity of hateful people? How does this affect your body? Mind? Emotions? Spirit? Goals? Dreams? Education? Employment? Housing? Health care? Transportation? Food availability? Air and Water quality? Finances? Spirituality? World view? What are the everyday and long term affects of this on your precious life? What cumulative entrenchment, if any, do you experience?
If you are not part of a group held in contempt by some folks, what is the effect on your precious life, of living in an environment where others are vulnerable through no fault of their own? Where do you stumble? How do you find and maintain a centered way forward?
At times, we are all the child in the poem, crying out for comfort. Explore your moments of neediness and surround them in tender love. Search for the bedrock cause; don’t stop until you find it. What wholesome, truthful solutions arise?
Consider contemplation, meditation, self-care, prayer, the varied and infinite ways to cultivate a wide-open love that is both deeply personal, and is universal. Consider taking effective actions in hopes of relieving the suffering of others. Are you called toward inward cultivation or outreach? Is one more important than the other? Is it okay to do the thing you are naturally inclined toward, but not the other? Or do you have a responsibility to do both?
My New Year’s wish is that we hold ourselves steady, rock ourselves, sing to ourselves, plant ourselves even for a moment in a place of peace. Then may we respect all beings, bring true equality to life, and champion justice for all.
The enormous healing power of words compels Judith to write. She strives to clarify, challenge, redirect, own up to and celebrate life. And do damage control.
Poetry’s unique spaciousness invites us to land in surprising places, come face to face with ourselves anew, and discover fresh perspectives. It connects us more deeply to ourselves, and erodes isolation.
“Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on.” Pete Seeger
About Judith Goedeke:
An award-winning poet and retired acupuncturist, Judith’s work appears in anthologies, literary journals and River of Silver Sky, a book of poems. She facilitates Poem as Portal Workshops that foster loving self-awareness, intentional living and compassion.