We’ve come out of the dust

in our mother tongue

not to praise the people

with astronomical hoards of bucks

and numbers, but those who’ve risen

out of volcanic ashes, those pushed

into labors for biddings not theirs,

who’re capable of envisioning peace

between nations when negotiations

take work with credible research

and willingness to hear clearly,

while a missile fires off at the twitch

of a ring finger. We’re here to give

our piece to the masters of war

who may be disinterested in seeing

what’s before them, as they duck

responsibility for the consequences

of their acts just to maximize profit.

Every day the masters of war fight

the human consensus, masters who,

stumbling upon disputes, provide

not wisdom but lethal arms to every

side, who in the face of Earth’s limits

of materials wage their public war

for control and to gut education.

And yet we’re here to recognize

those who’ve stood for peaceful

coexistence, who understand links

of firing off a missile to destruction

on the ground, who can envision

many years of peace, with altruism

toward those in need, and not forget

that war is a catastrophic collapse.

 

James Grabill

James Grabill’s work appears in Caliban, Harvard Review, Terrain, Mobius, Shenandoah, Seattle Review, Stand, and many others. Books – Poem Rising Out of the Earth (1994), An Indigo Scent after the Rain (2003), Lynx House Press. Environmental prose poems, Sea-Level Nerve: Books One (2014), Two (2015), Wordcraft of Oregon. For many years, he taught all kinds of writing as well as “systems thinking” and global issues relative to sustainability.

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