|"make the earth smile" welcome mat|
Photo by J. Harrington
In part, my bias goes back to my fundamentals of sociology course at college, in which the professor informed us lowly freshman that "there are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics." Perhaps the professor derived his opinion from the alleged perspective of Stalin, who's reported to have observed that “If only one man dies of hunger, that is a tragedy. If millions die, that’s only statistics.”
I believe that poetry matters because poetry makes us human. Just yesterday, I encountered an example of how that works, in an opinion of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The opinion ends by citing a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye. Read the whole opinion, but especially the last paragraph, and Nye's poem. On a directly related matter, this morning I was reminded how important it is that we all become as human as we can. We need to keep our fear of "the other" from overwhelming our common humanity and our common sense.
By Steven Huff
You used to be able to flag a ride in this country.Impossible now—everyone is afraidof strangers. Well, there was fear then too,and it was mutual: drivers versus hitchhikers.And we rode without seat belts,insurance or beliefs. Peoplewould see me far ahead on a hill like a seedling,watch me grow in the windshieldand not know they were going to stop untilthey got right up to me. Maybe they wantedcompany or thought I’d give themsome excitement. It was the ageof impulse, of lonesome knee jerks. An old womanstopped, blew smoke in my faceand after I was already in her car she asked meif I wanted a ride. I’m telling you.Late one night a construction boss pulled over.One of his crew had been hitby the mob, he said as he drove, distraughtand needing to talk to someone.We rode around for a long time.He said, I never wore a gun to a funeral before,but they’ve gotta be after me too.Then he looked at me and patted the bulgein his coat. Don’t worry, he said, you’re safe.
Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.