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free public domain image

“I wear the chain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.” Jacob Marley, A Christmas Carol

*The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock – T.S. Eliot

When you are dead,
What chains will you wear?
Will they be layered around and around and around
Your body from the top of your head
To the soles of your feet?

Today, I listened to a woman
standing on a street corner
Ranting shrilly angrily about how
Those savages are brutally murdering
Those who speak for peace,
Those who are giving aid to the helpless,
Those who try to report the truth
And open our scaled eyes.
“They aren’t human. We should just bomb them.”
“bomb all of them over there
And let God sort them out.”

I turned and walked away
Dragging the chains of my silence
As I walked to my car.

I sat.
I sat.
I sat.
The echo of her anger
Beat against the windows of my
Car like a terrible storm,
Buffeting and howling
Like some kind of crazed monster.

I sat.
I sat.
I sat.
“Do I dare
Disturb the universe?”*

I opened my door and walked
In her direction.
I felt a section of my chain drop.

I spoke to her softly and reminded
Her that fighting fire with fire
Only made more fire.
That hate only fueled the fire.
That we should try to love and forgive.
That we should work together
to stop the madness and
start the healing.
Fuck you hippie bitch.
She snarled.
I said, God forgive us all
And show us a better way.
Fuck you she said.
I turned and walked away

Today in dVerse Poetics Pub, we are using our poetic voices to speak against injustice, murder, and terrorism.

79 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. huntmode
    Mar 03, 2015 @ 20:34:23

    Kanzen, this one will take some more time to absorb. Part of me agrees wholeheartedly and another part sighs, shrugs and says, “How can you negotiate with those who have no wish to negotiate?” HuntMode


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 03, 2015 @ 21:06:40

      I know. But my personal responsibility was to speak whether or not she listened. People who are so full of that hate, on either side, will not hear.


      • huntmode
        Mar 09, 2015 @ 20:38:22

        Yes, I am not suprised you stood up and said something, Ms. Kanzen. I am grateful she did not come at you – as we’ve discussed, she would have been verra surprised at the outcome. A desire to love doesn’t mean you come to the party defenseless!


  2. Let's CUT the Crap!
    Mar 03, 2015 @ 20:36:22

    I this, Kanzen. This says it all. Short and quick, but direct. Someone must stand up and lead. Others will follow. The truth. Not easy to educate the stubborn masses. ❤ ❤ ❤


  3. Grace
    Mar 03, 2015 @ 20:45:53

    Hard to stand up and say those words, with love and compassion ~I admire and salute those who can break the chains of silence and say the loving words despite the hate ~

    Thanks for the light in your words ~ Peace ~


  4. Mary
    Mar 03, 2015 @ 20:57:01

    So true that fighting fire with fire isn’t the way to bring about peace. This person really doesn’t sound like she was at all convinced.

    On another note, I heard that you had trouble commenting on Blogger blogs & I do hope you find a way….. I had wondered as I had commented on yours a couple times and then had given up….I do know that sometimes different platforms have issues; and I do look forward to your well-written poetry.


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 03, 2015 @ 21:39:44

      No, she wasn’t. But I had my own spiritual responsibility to say something. Bjorn was most helpful about the problem I was having with comments. *crossing my fingers* hopefully it will work. I feel so badly that most of those comments never made their way to the writers. I’m hoping this will help me turn over a new leaf and become a more active member of this wonderful community.


  5. Sherry Marr
    Mar 03, 2015 @ 21:01:30

    BRAVO!!!!!! I am on my feet applauding that you did that. Her hate was as destructive as those she ranted about. You may not have made a dent on her rage – but maybe, later, she will think about it……anyway, somewhere nearby some likely heard, and agreed. And you didnt just drive away. You cared enough to speak. And what you have written here will touch many hearts. Again, bravo!


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 03, 2015 @ 21:37:52

      Thank you. I am afraid I am cynical enough to believe that nothing will change. maybe some of the bystanders may think. I could only do what I felt spiritually responsible to do. it’s scary.


      • georgeplace2013
        Mar 04, 2015 @ 10:01:07

        Ah, but something did change. You changed and grew just a little more adept at speaking the truth. The next time it will be easier and you are setting an example to the rest of us. It is getting to be most important to speak out in gentleness.


        • kanzensakura
          Mar 04, 2015 @ 10:21:33

          Thank you. I do hope that seed will sprout. In my youth, I was quite the outspoken radical – against the war in VietNam, for civil rights, against apartheid….older now, I have become more quiet. And I realize I need to refind that voice of my youth. and yes, with gentleness.


  6. Victoria C. Slotto
    Mar 03, 2015 @ 21:09:59

    I feel that war within myself that says bomb them to hell–and it fights with the hunger for a gentleness such as you were able to bring to the scene. There is so much anger and fear in the world today. Sometimes I’m really glad I’m “old(er).” What will become of us?


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 03, 2015 @ 21:20:48

      I fear for us. the thought of bombing terrorists and such haters…well….that’s one thing. Bombing all of the, the elderly, the children, the innocent, I have to back down from that.


  7. Gabriella
    Mar 03, 2015 @ 21:23:23

    “I spoke to her softly and reminded / Her that fighting fire with fire / Only made more fire.” – Exactly my feelings. Hatred just seems to beget more hatred and in the end we all lose.


  8. smilecalm
    Mar 03, 2015 @ 21:24:17

    win some
    lose some
    if still breathing,
    you win 🙂


  9. lightwalker1
    Mar 03, 2015 @ 21:42:44

    Good for you. Nice Epigraph. Excellent way to use your voice in combination with Jacob Marley and T.S. Eliot . I really love that your chain is breaking down. In light and love Cheryle


  10. billgncs
    Mar 03, 2015 @ 22:12:20

    very nice – this reminds me of a time long ago in Toronto Canada where I was walking and some Iranian people stopped me and showed me pictures of people hung from cranes and murdered in horrible ways. I just walked away, what could I do.

    I still recall that time almost 30 years ago, but now I know that I must speak against evil. It is not much, but it’s all that I can do.


  11. Glenn Buttkus
    Mar 03, 2015 @ 22:37:15

    Wear your banner of “hippie bitch” proudly! Many of us were there in the 60’s, demonstrating against the Viet Nam War that went on for 5 more hears impervious to our feelings. And even though you offered water to a rabid rodent, it was heart-driven, & kudos to you for returning to register your feelings on the matter. I like the lines /the echo of her anger/beat against the windows of my /car like a terrible storm/.


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 03, 2015 @ 23:09:29

      Those times back in the day did help us today. I remember people sitting at lunch counters to keep African Americans from sitting. I remember how several of us stood, waiting our turn and then…..letting the African American sit at the counter. Several times of protesting the Vietnam War and the hell that happened at kent State. When I young and full of p and v, it was easier. Being older now, it is scary. But I still have to do what my heart tells me regardless. I like to think we will win out against the darkness. We’ve won before, after all. Thank you for reading and for commenting.


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 04, 2015 @ 10:37:23

      PS My husband made a little cardboard “button” for me….Uppity Elderly Hippie Bitch…. 🙂


  12. Abhra
    Mar 04, 2015 @ 00:00:42

    Very well done – fighting fire with fire is not a solution – I am glad that you brought in your views to the prompt. Thank you.


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 04, 2015 @ 10:18:56

      It is a good prompt and a timely one. I am sorry but for some reason my computer does not want to connect to your poem. But I mourn so for two people who have given their lives to peace and education and understanding.


  13. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Mar 04, 2015 @ 00:26:40

    Exactly what we should all do.. To cry for more killing, retaliation revenge is never the way. We need more peaceful thinking not less… We need to stand up for what’s right. The word humanity both scares me and gives me I see what we can do.


  14. katiemiafrederick
    Mar 04, 2015 @ 01:30:28

    Ah.. the saddest instinct of all when world tries to become one.. the human tribal one that always sees nation before human and tribe before love…in human..a common purpose.. a common cause is often what cements a tribe of love.. and love is the glue worth connecting to.. and only fighting for WITH LOVE..:)


    Mar 04, 2015 @ 03:08:33

    Oh dear. Will we never convince the haters and the hated that peaceful co-existence with all creeds is possible? I admire your action, even though it didn’t work. One day it will.


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 04, 2015 @ 10:32:19

      I knew it wouldn’t. But I needed to do it. Hopefully, some sort of seed was planted. I have to believe that our quest for kindness, peace, truth will overcome the hatred. I have to believe.


  16. Brendan
    Mar 04, 2015 @ 05:41:56

    Yes — It seems so tedious and wrong to enter the fray — what does our speaking up or back accomplish? Are the chains our complicitous silence? How to respond in a way that refuses to pay evil back with evil? Maybe by exposing evil within us that the honesty is contagious. As Prospero said of Caliban, this thing of darkness I call my own. Great write.


  17. anmol(alias HA)
    Mar 04, 2015 @ 07:35:07

    Violence begets more violence. Your words made me tear up a bit. For how long are we going to fight?
    Those chains can be unlinked by peace, by a desire to want it. I don’t understand those who say that we must bomb others, because they bomb us. Such a thinking is what causes fractions and fragments and what kills humanity. I’d rather be killed than kill.
    Powerful writing.


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 04, 2015 @ 10:25:36

      Thank you. It is something right minded people have not been able to understand – the crazy hatred and thirst for violence. I just have to believe that the kindness we spread will one day overcome the hate.


  18. lorriebowden
    Mar 04, 2015 @ 07:52:08

    Ah! You dear soul…I’m so happy you tried…because I believe we have to send our energy out…even if it is not received we leave a footprint! Why is it that people are quick to anger and hatred…I watched a road rage incident the other day…the first person who was cut off raced up and returned the favor…they then drove at crazy speeds one inch off the other’s bumper!! Too bad love and kindness does not always foster an immediate return…but we have to believe it will make a difference…because IT WILL!! Much love to you…and thank you for your authenticity ❤


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 04, 2015 @ 10:23:48

      Thank you Lorrie. I truly believe that with our kindness and “leaving a footprint” that one day, all that love and blessitude will truly overcome the hate. It seems lately, so many of us have gone crazy with hate and anger. We just have to keep on with kindness.


  19. joannesisco
    Mar 04, 2015 @ 08:27:29

    I’d rather be a “hippy bitch” than consumed with hatred and anger.


  20. Myrna Rosa
    Mar 04, 2015 @ 10:41:46

    I admire your courage in speaking up. I tend to stay silent in the face of passionate hate. I’m convinced it’s not born of reason. I’m trying hard to love the haters. Loving is hard.


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 04, 2015 @ 10:45:29

      It is extremely hard – loving. The thing that pushed me to speak, finally, was that she was waving a Bible about, thumping it, and misquoting from it. She was using religion the same way as ISIS and ISIL use it to foster hatred. I couldn’t let that sort of madness go any further. I know I did nothing to change her, but I had to do it. And yes, that sort of hatred is beyond insanity.


  21. Bryan Ens
    Mar 04, 2015 @ 13:35:47

    wow! How often we sit and sit and sit. How rarely do we muster the courage to confront hate with a gentle word. And what irony of asking to bomb those who are hurting those who seek peace…


  22. Sarah
    Mar 04, 2015 @ 14:08:03

    Well done, you’re an absolute :star:. There may not have been an obvious payback but I’m convinced that such a brave and selfless act will have sent out positive ripples. ❤


  23. mishunderstood
    Mar 05, 2015 @ 01:02:06

    It is all these little gestures that matter. Good for you, “hippie bitch”! By the way, I’m not feeling the “uppity” part.
    Your poem was excellent. I could totally visualize the story. The first line really resonated with me, as I feel we have lost stability in this world.


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 05, 2015 @ 09:56:34

      LOL, I think in my younger days I was a bit uppity – being for women’s rights and civil rights and other things not of the status quo. Thank you so much.


  24. Prajakta
    Mar 05, 2015 @ 01:29:11

    Brilliant. You can never fight fire with fire… There will always be some radical stubborn people who will want to bomb them all! That mindset is even more dangerous isn’t it? Excellent poem!


  25. Hannah Gosselin
    Mar 05, 2015 @ 12:20:04

    Goodness!! I just felt the entire event…goosebumps and applause from me. You did it! We all need to own that voice of truth within ourselves, I believe.

    “I turned and walked away
    Dragging the chains of my silence”

    I love this!

    Powerful…thank you for inspiring and sharing this poem/story.

    If we feel hate we’re only adding to the problem – not being the solution.


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 05, 2015 @ 12:58:57

      You are e xactly right. I truly believe that good will overcome evil and love will overcome hate. I am so glad you liked. I’ve had people say, you’re so brave, you are awesome….not at all. I was scared but I had to say something. And I think when like you said, we own that truth within ourselves, we will speak. Thank you.


      • Hannah Gosselin
        Mar 05, 2015 @ 14:22:40

        Your words resonate for me so deeply…simple, (as in practical and should be common sense), yet so very profound and so hard for many to achieve. I had a vision as a young-ish child, (probably 12 or 13), of an immense set of old fashioned balance beam scales with the earth as it’s central pivotal point and good and bad on opposing sides…just a sense that these forces are always at work and that the earth’s seeking balance…I’m so glad to have had this time with you and shared in the experience through your poem…it’s special and spirit expanding. Thank You. ♥


        • kanzensakura
          Mar 05, 2015 @ 14:53:14

          Again, thank you. I see the world on a balance, like we use in pharmacy to weighthings. A little bit too much and the scales tip the wrong way. But I also see it as weighing out love and that love tipping the balance. I truly believe good will overcome evil.


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