Four poems by Jamie Dedes

the century of possible peace

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,after Muriel Rukeyser

I lived in the century of world wars and
into the century of “hot spots” and “conflicts,”
those isolated regions of hostility and battle, of
choreographed shows of military cliché and the
violent disaffected eruptions of the marginalized

Every day is an homage to some insanity
Media reports are conveyed with facile intensity
by hyperkinetic journalists – they deliver easy
and ominous conclusions based on seemingly
recondite facts, quickly moving to celebrity
gossip and other insipid topics . . .

I have lived in two centuries of wars
I know what it is to be exhausted by the
vain posturing of the ruling class and
the tired protestations of tribal unity and
supremacy based on accidents of birth

I know what it is to imagine peace across
the circumference of one small blue ball
in a Universe of inestimable size and breadth
I know that darkness can descend with the
speed of light, that love is more than an
anchor, that hope keeps our dreams alive

I have lived into the century where the world is
grown small, where the peacemakers are tireless
and perhaps enough hearts have grown large …
sometimes I think I am living in the century
where peace is as possible as war

 

The Razor’s Edge

Eye-candy, a feast of crocus, bursting
Through the snow-laden ground
Drunk on the promise of spring
The devil behind, that shadow side
Clouds shape shifting, take on
The broad outlines of a memoir

Angels dance on the razor’s edge
Forget that pin stupidity, reductio
ad absurdum, politicians and scholars
Debating, while greed and warring go on
Starving the children, curse the insanity
Dialectic, acquisition, murdering hoards

Clouds, shape shifting, take on
The contours of shame, crocus buries
Itself and the promise of spring
The broad outlines of memoir dissolve
The slashed moon drools ichor

How long can the innocent bear life
On the razor’s edge, coiling the fire
Of their despair around our hearts
Drawn to the verge on the reflux of
Rudimentary souls, vertigo, nausea
Nostalgia for what will never be known

 

At the Dead of Noon

If you weren’t there
you can hardly imagine the beauty,
the exquisite peace of those hot summers
Sun as bright as a child’s heart
Trees thickly leaved and old as God
Heat rising off the nubby concrete
in mighty rainbow waves and life
moving in time to the music of paradise
Or, so it seemed to preschoolers at play
At the dead of noon
a stillness
Even the child sensed it
that transcendent moment,
nature in quiet meditation
no breeze
no sighs
no butterflies winging
children stopped playing
grown-ups stopped working
the Hudson Bay stilled its roiling
when
suddenly
the beloved city choked on the swell of an air-raid siren ….
…. testing
just testing
just blowing a chill wind into
languid days of childhood dreaming
toddlers crying for toddler reasons
well-trained grade-school children
diving under oak desks for the required
. . . duck
and cover
As if that would save us from extinction.

 

Some Mothers Hearts Have Stopped

Some mothers’ children stare unseeing
No sweet, wet baby kisses from blistered lips,
. . . . songs unsung
No wedding portraits to dust and treasure
No graduations or trips to the sea
. . . . just their bodies to bury
…………crushed
…………beaten
…………stilled
by the engine of nihilism
Limbs cracked and broken, bellies torn
Faces purpled, hearts stopped
Hearts stopped …
. . . . hearts stopped
Some mothers’ hearts have stopped

,,

Jamie Dedes: A homebound writer, poet, and former columnist, her poetry has been featured widely. She runs The Poet by Day (jamiededes.com), an info hub focusing on initiatives for peace, sustainability and social justice as well as she-poets, minority poets, and poets just finding their voices in maturity. She is also the editor of The BeZine (thebezine.com), a publication of The Bardo Group/Beguines, a virtual arts collective she founded. 

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