Poetry

The Threat of New Creation – Resurrection

They Have Threatened Us With Resurrection (1980)

by Julia Esquivel; translated by Ann Woehrle

 

It isn't the noise in the streets

that keeps us from resting, my friend,

nor is it the shouts of the young people

coming out drunk from the “St. Pauli,”

nor is it the tumult of those who pass by excitedly

on their way to the mountains.

 

It is something within us that doesn't let us sleep,

that doesn't let us rest,

that won't stop pounding

deep inside,

it is the silent, warm weeping

of Indian women without their husbands,

it is the sad gaze of the children

fixed somewhere beyond memory,

precious in our eyes

which during sleep,

though closed, keep watch,

systole,

diastole,

awake.

 

Now six have left us,

and nine in Rabinal,* and two, plus two, plus two,

and ten, a hundred, a thousand,

a whole army

witness to our pain,

our fear,

our courage,

our hope!

 

What keeps us from sleeping

is that they have threatened us with Resurrection!

Because every evening

though weary of killings,

an endless inventory since 1954,**

yet we go on loving life

and do not accept their death!

 

They have threatened us with Resurrection

Because we have felt their inert bodies,

and their souls penetrated ours

doubly fortified,

because in this marathon of Hope,

there are always others to relieve us

who carry the strength

to reach the finish line

which lies beyond death.

 

They have threatened us with Resurrection

because they will not be able to take away from us

their bodies,

their souls,

their strength,

their spirit,

nor even their death

and least of all their life.

Because they live

today, tomorrow, and always

in the streets baptized with their blood,

in the air that absorbed their cry,

in the jungle that hid their shadows,

in the river that gathered up their laughter,

in the ocean that holds their secrets,

in the craters of the volcanoes,

Pyramids of the New Day,

which swallowed up their ashes.

 

They have threatened us with Resurrection

because they are more alive than ever before,

because they transform our agonies

and fertilize our struggle,

because they pick us up when we fall,

because they loom like giants

before the crazed gorillas' fear.

 

They have threatened us with Resurrection,

because they do not know life (poor things!).

 

That is the whirlwind

which does not let us sleep,

the reason why sleeping, we keep watch,

and awake, we dream.

 

No, its not the street noises,

nor the shouts from the drunks in the “St. Pauli,”

nor the noise from the fans at the ball park.

 

It is the internal cyclone of kaleidoscopic struggle

which will heal that wound of the quetzal***

fallen in Ixcan,

it is the earthquake soon to come

that will shake the world

and put everything in its place.

 

No, brother,

it is not the noise in the streets

which does not let us sleep.

 

Join us in this vigil

and you will know what it is to dream!

Then you will know how marvelous it is

to live threatened with Resurrection!

 

To dream awake,

to keep watch asleep,

to live while dying,

and to know ourselves already

resurrected!

 

* Rabinal is a town in the province of Baja Varahaz where a massacre against indigenous people took place, perpetrated by the military dictatorship.

 

** The phrase “inventory since 1954” refers to the year in which the government of President Jacobo Arbenz was overthrown by a CIA-backed mercenary army coup, which initiated the unrelenting and ever-mounting repression by the military regimes who took over power.

 

*** The quetzal is an embarrassingly beautiful bird found in the forests and woodlands of Central America. The name is from Nahuatl quetzalli, which means “large brilliant tail feather.” The quetzal is the national bird of Guatemala and figures in the oral traditions of the indigenous people of that area.

Pain and Hope Captured In A Finger, Two Dots Then Me

We need writers who help get underneath the din of populist opinions and expose the complexity of human emotions and questions. I continue to think about the way Steve McCoy grasps the function of art and passes down that appreciation to his children.  Another friend posted a link to this short film. The performance is captivating. The content is honest. Remember, the function of art is not necessarily to provide an answer but to expose the pain we often face and at the same time open up possibilities of hope. These pieces become gateways to fascinating conversations. May this start a healthy conversation with you.

Typography with Taylor Mali

A great video project using the poetry of Taylor Mali. Put together by Ronnie Bruce.

Broken Poetry

We did it. That’s right, fearful of how we may contribute to the spread of H1N1 we shut down our water fountains at Snow Hill. A water cooler stands in front of the pair in our foyer. Paper cups sit atop the enlarged water container. One large bottle of hand sanitizer sits nearby. Clear indicators we want to do our part to keep the H1N1 and the Seasonal flu from spreading. There are certain kinds of viral strains and bacteria we hope to avoid.

Problem is we in the church consider those who are broken to have some form of contagious bacteria. No, we do not talk as if that is the case. We simply behave that way. We use language of identification sporting the notion we are all broken. Yet when it comes to the varieties of broken some are acceptable, others are not so much.

A friend of mine recently wrote a piece of poetry describing our lack of understanding for some who suffer broken-ness in our culture. These we would as soon clean up as with a bottle of hand sanitizer. In Manifesto of the Broken, Kristen offers,

Those whose minds have never broken

can never really understand-

they want to shake, to judge, to resent.

Dear God, they think they might fix the problem

with a little exercise, a diet, some will-power.

Read the entire piece here.

Where Is Your Head?

Barry Taylor offered a poem by Thom Sletterlee reflecting on the Lectionary text from Mark 6 for yesterday. Since our plans changed for yesterday, I offer it here today.

We told him the story as we ourselves had heard:
big party at the palace, music, wine,
Herod’s niece gets up to dance … and she’s beautiful,
wearing a gown thin as web, rattling
a tambourine above her head. The King’s face is
bright red from drinking, but his eyes follow every move.

She finishes, and there’s nothing he wouldn’t give her.
She turns down jewelry, wants John’s head on a platter.

We tried to tell Jesus what it’s like at the palace,
how a King’s word is binding, how the guests demand it;
but some said Herod didn’t have to do it,
and others said there’d been no prophecy.

Then Jesus asked the strangest thing:
“Where is John’s head?”

We didn’t know, and how should we answer?
We’d all heard him speak to the crowds
in parables. Did he mean John’s head
as in John’s head? Or did he mean
John’s head as in John’s leader? In that case
we might have said, “You, Lord.”
But maybe he meant the place
John’s thoughts came nearest to, and
the answer would be simple: “Heaven.”  …