Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 60

top photo

Relatives of Samir Sabah Michael, an Iraqi Christian killed in yesterday's road side bomb blast, cry over his body in Kirkuk, Iraq, Friday, April 13, 2007. Samir's was supposed to get married Friday.

(AP Photo/Emad Matti)

bottom photo

During a steady rain, Colin Kennedy, youngest brother of Army Sgt. Adam Kennedy, kisses Adam goodby after everyone else left the grave site in Norfolk, Mass., Tuesday, April 17, 2007. Kennedy, 25, was killed on Sunday, April 8, 2007, by the blast from an improvised explosive device south of Baghdad, Iraq.
(AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

J. S. Bach: F# Minor Toccata
by Bill Holm

This music weeps, not for sin
but rather for the black fact
that we must all die, but not one
of us knows what comes after.
This music leaps from key to key
as if it had no clear place to arrive,
making up its life, one bar at a time.
But when you come at last to the real theme,
strict, inexorable, and bleak,
you must play it slow and sad,
with melancholy dignity, or you miss
all its grim wisdom.
In three pages, it says, the universe collapses,
and you--still only halfway home.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Grief Daily Witness Day 59

Injured occupants are carried out of Norris Hall at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., Monday, April 16, 2007. A gunman opened fire in a dorm and classroom on the campus, killing at least 30 people in the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history. The gunman is killed but it's unclear if he was shot by police or took his own life.
(AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Alan Kim)

Ghost Notes (an excerpt)
by Ralph Burns

for Danny Fletcher

I. Call and Response


It's beauty people fear, bright

rose riding on Aunt Billie's forehead,

the way light makes green everything

after her pickled okra, stubble

in the hands of day labor, callouses

of a parade of things and

touching them without seeing

or hearing without knowledge,

dumbstruck by a brooding need to define

or look without a place

to grieve, beauty and not faith

in truth in the light of justice --

just reach and nothing's there

but what's there already.

- - -

April is National Poetry Month

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 58

The mother, widow, and father of U.S. Army soldier Jason Nunez watch from a distance under a tree as the soldier's coffin is lowered into a grave, about a week after he was killed in a bomb attack in Iraq, at the military cemetery in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, April 4, 2007. Their names are, left to right, Marlene Fernandez, Nitza Damaris Martnez, and Samuel Nuez.
(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

I am the People, the Mob
by Carl Sandburg

I am the people--the mob--the crowd--the mass.
Do you know that all the great work of the world is done through me?
I am the workingman, the inventor, the maker of the world's food and
I am the audience that witnesses history. The Napoleons come from me
and the
Lincolns. They die. And then I send forth more Napoleons
I am the seed ground. I am a prairie that will stand for much plowing.
Terrible storms pass over me. I forget. The best of me is sucked out
and wasted. I forget. Everything but Death comes to me and makes
me work and give up what I have. And I forget.
Sometimes I growl, shake myself and spatter a few red drops for history
to remember. Then--I forget.
When I, the People, learn to remember, when I, the People, use the
lessons of yesterday and no longer forget who robbed me last year,
who played me for a fool--then there will be no speaker in all the
world say the name: "The People," with any fleck of a sneer in his
voice or any far-off smile of derision.
The mob--the crowd--the mass--will arrive then.

- - -

April is National Poetry Month

Friday, April 13, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 57

Girls look through a fence at a refugee camp in Mosul April 5, 2007. About 250 families moved from Tal Afar town to camps in Mosul since last weeks' violence attacks.
REUTERS/Khaled al-Mousuly (IRAQ)

words/music by Kent Lambert (aka Roommate)

The war will start on Monday
we will go to work
we will read the headlines
we will go get coffee.

The war will start on Monday
we will talk to God
or maybe not
we will go get lunch.

Maybe we'll eat pasta
maybe we'll eat pork
maybe we'll eat tofu
maybe we'll eat crow
maybe we'll eat crow.

The war will start on Monday
we will watch the clock
we'll go to the protest
or maybe not
or maybe not.

The war will start on Monday
we will watch TV
we will change the channels
we will go to sleep
and in our dreams we'll drop the bombs and stop the bleeding
in our dreams we'll write the songs that start the healing
in our dreams we'll find another way
and the war will end on Tuesday.

- - -

Roommate’s website
(including mp3 of the featured song)

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April is National Poetry Month

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 56

A boy cries in a newly opened orphanage in the Shiite enclave of Sadr City In Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, April 2, 2007. The orphanage houses 33 Iraqi children who lost their parents during the four year of conflict in Iraq.
(AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Fishing in Winter
by Ralph Burns

A man staring at a small lake sees
His father cast light line out over
The willows. He's forgotten his
Father has been dead for two years
And the lake is where a blue fog
Rolls, and the sky could be, if it
Were black or blue or white,
The backdrop of all attention.

He wades out to join the father,
Following where the good strikes
Seem to lead. It's cold. The shape
Breath takes on a cold day is like
Anything else--a rise on a small lake,
The Oklahoma hills, blue scrub—
A shape already inside a shape,
Two songs, two breaths on the water.

- - -

April is National Poetry Month

Friday, April 6, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 55

An Iraqi man is questioned by U.S. Army soldiers after they found an illegal ammunition magazine in his house in Baghdad April 4, 2007.

The Death Poem
by Jumah al-Dossari

Take my blood.

Take my death shroud and

The remnants of my body.

Take photographs of my corpse at the grave, lonely.

Send them to the world,

To the judges and

To the people of conscience,

Send them to the principled men and the fair-minded.

And let them bear the guilty burden, before the world,

Of this innocent soul.

Let them bear the burden, before their children and before history,

Of this wasted, sinless soul,

Of this soul which has suffered at the hands of the "protectors of peace."

- - -

Thanks to Rippen Kitten for a diary at Daily Kos about the poetry written by several prisoners being held without charge at Guantanamo.

- - -

April is National Poetry Month

- - -

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 54

Allana Swiger, widow of Army Sgt. Jason Swiger, watches as the casket is loaded into a hearse following the funeral, Wednesday, April 4, 2007, in Portland, Maine. Swiger was killed by a suicide bomber March 25 in Baqubah, Iraq.
(AP Photo/Joel Page)

Mr. Lonely
words/music by Bobby Vinton and Gene Allan

Lonely, I'm Mr. Lonely
I have nobody for my own
I am so lonely, I'm Mr. Lonely
Wish I had someone to call on the phone

Now I'm a soldier, a lonely soldier
Away from home through no wish of my own
That's why I'm lonely, I'm Mr. Lonely
I wish that I could go back home

Letters, never a letter
I get no letters in the mail
I've been forgotten, yes, forgotten
Oh how I wonder, how is it I failed

Now I'm a soldier, a lonely soldier
Away from home through no wish of my own
That's why I'm lonely, I'm Mr. Lonely
I wish that I could go back home

- - -

April is National Poetry Month

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 53

This videograb taken from footage obtained 2 April by the SITE Institute, a group monitoring radical Islamist websites, shows German hostage Hannelore Krause (R), 61, and her 20-year-old son Sinan, crying as she appeals to her country and Austria for help. Germany has condemned the video as their Iraqi kidnappers threatened to execute them unless Berlin withdraws its troops from Afghanistan.
(AFP/SITE Institute)

He Foretells His Passing
F. D. Reeve

I can imagine, years from now, your coming back
to this high, old, white house. ”Home” I shouldn’t say
because we can’t predict who’ll live here with a different
How tall the birches will be then. Will you look up
from the road past the ash for light in the study windows
upstairs and down? Go climb the black maple as first
in new sneakers you walked forty feet in air
and saw the life to come. Don’t forget the cats.

Because you grow away from a house, no matter how much you
come back,
if the people you love are elsewhere, or if the reason is,
nostalgia, don’t worry about small changes or lost names.
Sit down for a minute under the tallest birch. Look up
at the clouds reflected in the red barn’s twisted window.
Lean on the wall. Hear our voices as at first
they shook the plaster, laughed, then burned in the dry air
like a wooden house. I imagine you won’t forget the cats.

- - -

April is National Poetry Month

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 52

(left) U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) (2nd L) and armed escorts visit the Shorga marketplace and interact with local merchants while walking the streets of Baghdad April 1, 2007 with General David Petraeus, U.S. Commander in Iraq (not pictured). Photo taken April 1, 2007.

(right) Soldiers salute as an honor guard carries the coffin containing the body of U.S. Army soldier Jason Nunez Fernandez, after his remains were returned to his native Puerto Rico, at Muniz Airbase in Carolina, Monday, April 2, 2007. Fernandez, of the 82nd Airborne Division, was killed last week along with three fellow soldiers in a suicidal bomb attack against his convoy near Baqubah, Iraq.
(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

from The Ballad of Reading Gaol
by Oscar Wilde


In Reading gaol by Reading town
  There is a pit of shame,
And in it lies a wretched man
  Eaten by teeth of flame,
In burning winding-sheet he lies,
  And his grave has got no name.
And there, till Christ call forth the dead,
  In silence let him lie:
No need to waste the foolish tear,
  Or heave the windy sigh:
The man had killed the thing he loved,
  And so he had to die.
And all men kill the thing they love,
  By all let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
  Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
  The brave man with a sword!

- - -

April is National Poetry Month

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 51

Bodies of victims of violence are seen on the floor of a hospital morgue in Kirkuk, about 250 km (150 miles) north of Baghdad, April 1, 2007. Violence in Iraq killed 1,861 civilians in March, a 13 percent increase from the previous month and despite a major security crackdown in Baghdad, Iraqi government tallies showed on Sunday.
REUTERS/Slahaldeen Rasheed (IRAQ)

Posthumous Remorse
by Charles Baudelaire
translated by Keith Waldrop

When you go to sleep, my gloomy beauty, below a black marble monument, when from alcove and manor you are reduced to damp vault and hollow grave;

when the stone—pressing on your timorous chest and sides already lulled by a charmed indifference—halts your heart from beating, from willing, your feet from their bold adventuring,

then the tomb, confidant to my infinite dream (since the tomb understands the poet always), through those long nights in which slumber is banished,

will say to you: "What does it profit you, imperfect courtesan, not to have known what the dead weep for?" —And the worm will gnaw at your hide like remorse.