I read about trials and verdicts, about police brutality and various kinds of injustice in our country. My cringe reaction works a little harder -- so much of what I think we believe is not what our country does, not how our elected officials and justice system are supposed to work.
While I am cringing, an American woman who I've come to know through the internet, someone with whom I share many interests and values, who lives in Sweden -- a country with a different political attitude -- is aware and not self-defensively cringing. She is feeling and reacting to these same headlines. Arlene Corwin writes poetry like many of us drink coffee -- daily, satisfying a need she has to express herself and to help herself face the world as it is.
A long introduction to a moving poem she has given me permission to print here:
This Is A Terrible Day.
This is a terrible day.
Over thirteen hundred murdered:
Attack in Syria
Whose rulers say “Not us!”
Then there’s Bradley Manning
Military secrets like:
“let’s get ‘em, kill ‘em all” the …
Or words to that effect.
He’ll suffer thirty-five years
In a prison. Here
In Sweden he’d have got
Six months, a cell phone, and a lot
Of loving letters.
Speaking of which,
Swedish citizens are going sick;
Taking billions from the taxes
To recover (or do something)
From the new bipolarist depressions ups and downs;
Stress related illnesses that do not end in ouch.
From the healthy watching TV on the couch
To pay the weakened on a couch
Without a cure in sight.
But worst is loss of life.
The Mozarts, Rembrandts, who’d have been
Now dead without a fight.
This is a terrifying day.
This Is A Terrible Day 8.22.2013