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arts and culture | imperialism & war

Real Courage

This poem takes a snapshot from the peace rally a year ago at Waterfront Park, just a few days before the war started. It was previously published in "Raising Our Voices"--a collection of anti-war poems.--ga
"Nascent Tongue"

She went to the rally
wet green grass
shy shoes
shoulders hunched brown sweater
braver than most
lost looking
head bobbing with Parkinson's
How does she survive
the onslaught of colors
fighting for the sky

I asked if she was okay
needed any help finding someone
She said she was all right
sure she would meet up with
the people who brought her
I wanted to stay
hear her stories over and above
the crowd drums and chants
for peace
Wandering away
into new fields of ripe Maidens'
smooth brown calves
flex in willow strength
that can't imagine the courage
to keep living over
all the wars and depressions
she's marched through up to

This day
hinged on the lines hugging her mouth
smiled thank you for my concern
maybe too proud
fearful or confused to take my
Help me
understand how they can make up
another war on TV
with a bold Tommy General commandeering
bombers launched from ships
far at sea
and remotely call that brave
when this woman
wanders in wet green grass
and March is so uncertain
even the sudden sun and showers are surprised
to see her standing there
surrounded by the colors shouted
by the thousands who came
after her

Makes me bow to her invincible grace
her unutterable beauty


gary aker 3/17/03